There are some things Italy just does better... delicious food, scenic piazzas, painted chapel ceilings and wine windows to name a few. Yes, wine windows. It seems our Italian brethren are quite the innovators when it comes to pandemic coping mechanisms.
Throughout Tuscany, but with a higher concentration found in Florence, wine windows (buchette del vino in Italian) have been around since the Plague. They allowed merchants to serve customers precious wine without having to make physical contact with them #genius. Wine merchants would collect coins from buyers using a metal pallet, which they would then disinfect with vinegar - the original contactless delivery.
The Plague swept through Florence in the 1630s, but this wasn’t the first time Italians had faced a pandemic. The Black Death made its gruesome arrival in Europe in 1347, and over the next three centuries outbreaks of the plague were common. Europeans adapted and took proactive public health measures to contain outbreaks and manage their daily lives.
Over 150 wine windows have been catalogued in Florence by the Associazione Buchette del Vino (Wine Windows Association). Started by three Florentines in 2015, the association documents the city's medieval windows and installs historical plaques, so both locals and tourists are aware of their usage. To date, over 300 have been added to the wine window map across Florence and the Tuscan region.
In the wake of COVID-19, wine windows are going through a Renaissance (we couldn't resist...) - with restaurants and bars reopening the ancient doors to ensure customers get their wine, coffee, ice cream and aperol spritz fixes without missing a beat.
Image from Food&Wine article, LW/Getty Images