If you need proof the more things change the more they stay the same you’ve come to the right city. The past is present here and if you look closely you’ll spot it everywhere. One elusive example is the buchette del vino or wine windows that are scattered around Florence. These small holes built near the entryways of many Renaissance palaces allowed 16th century wine merchants to carry on doing business during the plagues that periodically devasted the city.
Clients would slip their flasks through the miniature windows which were then filled using a metal tube connected to casks on the inside. Contact during payment was avoided by placing coins on metal pallets which were then disinfected with vinegar. Nearly 180 wine windows are still visible around the city and each has its own personality. Although the dimensions and arched shape are roughly the same wealthy proprietors added their own style and decorations to the frame and wooden doors, most of which have disappeared.
The Buchette del Vino Cultural Association provides a map that simplifies finding the windows and several have been brought back to life during the recent epidemic. You can use a wine window to order wine, spritz or ice-cream at Osteria delle Brache (Santa Croce, Piazza dei Peruzzi 5r, Tues.-Sun. 11am-4pm and 6pm-12am), Babae (Oltrarno, Via Santo Spirito 21r, Tues.-Thurs. 6pm-12am, Fri. 6pm-2am, Sat. 12pm-2am) and Vivoli (Santa Croce, Via Isola delle Stinche 7r, Tues.-Sat. 7:30am-12am, Sun 9am-12am).