Wine Windows of Florence, Italy
“Buchette del Vino”
Wine Windows of Florence, Italy. During a recent trip to Europe, our family spent three days is the Renaissance marvel that is Florence, Italy. I first visited Florence when I was 20 years old and I was instantly smitten. The city itself is stunning as is its history. The cradle of the Renaissance that Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, and Dante Alighieri all called home has countless attractions that are world class. Michelangelo’s David, the Duomo’s grand dome, the Ponte Vecchio and the Palazzo Vecchio tend to steal the headlines but there are a myriad of other curiosities that go unnoticed by many visitors. The Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy, Il Porcellino, the Bull of Santa Maria del Fiore, and the Museo Opificio delle Pietre Dure( “Museum of the workshop of precious stones” which was founded as an aid for the construction of the Medici Chapels at the Basilica of San Lorenzo) are remarkable attractions , often overlooked by travelers. However, My favorite overlooked attractions, which are rarely noticed but are scattered throughout the city are the “Buchette del Vino”, the wine windows of Florence.
History of the Wine Windows of Florence:
The Tuscany region of Italy has a continuous 3,000 year history of wine agriculture. World famous wine towns near Florence include Montepulciano, Montalcino and Chianti. As the capital of Tuscany, Florence is a center for sales and distribution of Tuscan wines. Wine Production in the Florence area started in Etruscan times and has survived through Roman and Greek Empires as well as countless invasions.
In 1559, Cosimo I de’ Medici, the archduke of Tuscany, decreed that Noble families could sell wine from their own homes, Tax Free! During the 14th century, approximately 8 million gallons of wine per year was sold in the city of Florence. The Tax-Free status was a strong motivator for wealthy noble families who quickly began creating wine windows in their homes which connected with eager consumers on the streets of Florence.
The wine windows of Florence are of remarkably similar size, approximately 21 inches tall by 14 inches wide. These dimensions were intended to accommodate the standard wine carafe of that era, referred to as a “Fiasco”. More wine windows were built in Florence as wealthy families flourished. Wine windows also served an important health function during repeated outbreaks of the plague as they created social distance between the servants of wealthy wine growers and wine consumers. Who knows how many lives were saved by wine windows during the Black Death epidemic of 1630-1633! Many of these same wine windows were reborn during the recent Covid pandemic in Italy, offering socially distanced wine, cocktails, coffee and gelato.
Wine Windows of Florence, Italy: The Photograph
As a naive 20 year old, I recall noticing peculiar, small doors scattered about Florence. I thought: there are cat doors everywhere here, they must really love cats! A couple decades later My Wife, Debbie and good friends, Max and Chris Reitz took a trip to Italy. We made a stop in Florence where we hired a guide who offered a wealth of local knowledge. During our tour, she pointed out the “Buchette del Vino”, Wine windows and I experienced a Eureka moment. They were wine windows, not cat doors! I became intrigued by the history, and functionality of these little 400 year old wine windows of Florence. Prior to our most recent visit to I hatched a plan to photograph the “Buchette del vino” of Florence.
I found an online map with coordinates for many of the 150 known windows found within the city limits of Florence. The map was somewhat helpful. I was able to find approximately 75% of the windows that were on the Map. I also managed to find several windows which were not listed on maps. I spent three days schlepping my photography gear through the historic streets of Florence to capture the images included in this new wine windows of Florence photograph. All the images were captured with a high resolution camera and the detail in the full size image is exceptional! Close inspection of this new fine art print tells dozens of stories. Why were there two different sets of keys left in the sills of two different windows? Why were some decorated while others were desecrated? When were some converted to mailboxes? Intercom systems? Do the residents of these historic buildings have extra insight into the history of these wonderful architectural anomolies? I’m Thrilled about this project and believe that Lovers of wine, history, art, architecture and Florence, Italy, will be enchanted by this new fine art photograph. Please contact me with purchasing questions. I hope my viewers enjoy contemplating this enchanting new fine art photograph half as much as I enjoyed the process of creating it! Thanks for reading and…Salute!
Important Note for potential collectors: I can have this print made without my signature in the lower right hand corner, if you prefer.