Wine windows are small arched openings in private homes where the owners sold
the wine from their own vineyards directly to clients.They were normally carved out
of the façade of the home and had a stone frame but sometimes they were carved
out of the large wooden doors of the palace. They often had a small door with a
knocker. A client could knock on the door of the wine window and request that his
bottle be filled. The wine windows were individually made and no two are exactly
alike. They are of similar dimension, however, about 20 x 30 cm, large enough to
accommodate a small wine bottle.
The powerful Medici dynasty returned to power in Florence in 1532 and allowed
wealthy landowners to sell their own wine directly to customers through the wine
windows. The wine windows were still in occasional use as late as the early 1900s,
meaning they had been in use for four centuries for the retail sale of thousands of
bottles of wine.
Wine windows can be found primarily in Florence, but also in other cities and towns
of Tuscany. They are primarily located next to the main front door of large palaces
of wealthy land-owning families, and were often connected directly with a storage
area or cellar.
They are usually at eye level to facilitate the transaction, although a few are located
at foot level, with direct access to the wine cellar.
If you want more information about these rare architectural features, visit the website
of the “Associazione Buchette del Vino” at www.buchettedelvino.org