Posted: Aug 13, 2020
As 16th-century Florentines dropped like flies to the plague, survivors drowned their fears in wine, passed to them through small windows which are enjoying a renaissance during the coronavirus era.
The small "wine windows" can be seen dotted around the Tuscan capital next to the grand entrances of sumptuous noble palaces, where wealthy families used to sell alcohol directly to thirsty customers, passing flasks through to eager hands.
Over time, the apertures, just 30 centimetres (12 inches) high and 20 centimetres wide, fell into disuse.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has seen their resurgence, with bars using them to serve ice-cold cocktails like Aperol Spritz, gelato or coffee.
They offer a way for establishments hit hard by the lockdown to attract customers while adhering to social distancing rules.
The windows pre-date the plague. They were created by the Medici family, after it returned to power in 1532 following the fall of the Florentine Republic, according to scholar Massimo Casprini, who has written a book about them.
By Gildas LE ROUX
August 13, 2020
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