Nearly 300 of these small wine windows have been cataloged across Tuscany, an architectural curiosity adopted during the Renaissance era.
According to Google Trends, the phrase "social distancing" was essentially unheard of before March 2020, but Google Trends doesn't go back to the 1600s. After the plague swept through Florence in 1634 one of the Italian city's coping mechanisms was tiny wine windows that allowed merchants to pass vino through a small hole in the wall to avoid direct contact with customers.
Following the plague wine windows continued to be used for hundreds of years to sell wine without having to open a shop and therefore avoid paying taxes.
Fast forward to 2020 as a modern pandemic swept through the city, not only were these windows topical, some were once again used for their intended purpose.
The Wine Windows Association says no official tabs were ever kept on the number of apertures in the city, but they've been conducting their own census — a tricky task as many have been covered up or removed — and about 150 exist inside Florence's old city walls, while another 100-plus have been cataloged beyond the walls and throughout Tuscany, the region to which the windows are apparently unique.
The above map shows the Wine Windows in the Historical Center of Florence.