Drink like Da Vinci: Italy is bringing back its 17th-century ‘wine windows’

Contactless tech goes way back.


August 10, 2020

Photo: Buchette del Vino/Facebook

Want to buy an aperol spritz or a gelato without stepping indoors? The holes in the wall have you covered.

Because of the coronavirus, shops in Tuscany are reviving a centuries-old sales trick — arched, stone hatches called “wine windows.”

It’s like medieval drive-thru: Call out your order through the buchette del vino, and a phantom hand will serve you.

Where did these things come from?

17th-century Italian aristocrats wanted to run wine businesses, but they weren’t so keen on paying taxes. 

So they carved up slits in their cellar walls to sell vino on the DL. 

Then the bubonic plague hit 

Wine windows became a safe way to do business. A recent survey found ~300 still exist.

Now you can pay by credit card — but back in the day, you dropped coins into a metal holder, and the seller disinfected them with vinegar.

Contactless tech? That’s so 1600s.

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