When Italy went into lockdown in February, the nation came together to fight COVID-19. Opera singers and musicians entertained neighbors on their balconies, while bunting hung in the windows read Everything will be fine.
Image courtesy of: wineinfo.com
In Florence, creative restaurateurs and bar owners have taken inspiration from medieval buildings to keep their businesses and the spirit of the city alive. According to the Wine Window Association in Florence, wine windows have been opened all over the city for the first time in the memory of some people.
The wine window (buchette del vino), a small hatch originally used to sell surplus wine directly to the working class in Florence.
Matteo Faglia, president of the Wine Window Association, told reporters that people can knock on the small wooden shutters and fill their bottles directly from the Antinori, Frescobaldi and Ricasoli families, which still produce some of Italy"s most famous wines today.
Wine windows are unique to Florence and Tuscany and were once part of everyday life here. But often overshadowed by the beauty of the Renaissance wonders and cathedrals here, they are an overlooked part of Florentine architecture.
See wine windows around Florence, many of which date back to the Middle Ages. There are over 150 wine windows within the old city walls of Florence alone, and many more throughout the region.
Matteo Faglia told reporters that wine windows gradually failed in the early 20th century as the laws governing the sale of wine in Italy changed, and many wooden windows were permanently lost in the flood of 1966.
Now, after generations of silence, some wine windows are reopening for the first time and are being used to serve food and drink in a way that maintains a safe social distance.
According to sources, this was not the first time these grape windows were used to stop the spread of disease in Florence. Historians note that in the 1630s, when the plague swept through Italy, wine sellers understood the importance of self-isolation and used hatches for this purpose. Instead of charging by hand, wine sellers would pass a metal tray sterilized with vinegar through the window.
The past and history of the Wine Window are documented by the Wine Window Association, which was established in 2016 to raise awareness among visitors and locals.
Florentines have a reason to preserve these unique histories, and the Wine Window Association has a responsibility to protect them. All the windows are now in a protected state, but vandalism is still a problem. Matteo Faglia, the association's president, hopes that after the New Crown epidemic, attitudes toward the wine windows will begin to change. We want to put a plaque in all the wine windows, because when people know what they are and their history, they tend to respect them more," he told reporters.