In Florence, Italy, some creative businesses are using a unique part of medieval architecture of their buildings once again. The Tuscany region is home to more than 150 wine windows, which were originally used during the Plague to sell surplus wine to Florence’s working class. And now some of the centuries-old hatches are reopening, some for the first time in living memory.
Matteo Faglia, president of The Wine Window Association explains that back then, people could knock on the little wooden shutters and have their bottles filled with wine. In the 1630s, when the Italian Plague swept through, the socially distanced wine windows were important. Instead of taking money by hand wine sellers would slide a metal pallet through the window and disinfect it with vinegar.
Now the wine windows are being used once again as a fun -and COVID-friendly- way to serve wine, as well as cocktails, coffee and gelato in Florence. They’re a unique part of the city’s history and maybe now they’ll become part of their “new normal.”
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