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BlogTravel buzz Wine windows in Florence: An Italian tradition that’s making a comeback
Travel buzz

Wine windows in Florence: An Italian tradition that’s making a comeback

Sep 27, 2023 by Thea Engst

You can’t scroll through social media these days without stumbling across the exciting resurgence of wine windows in Florence, Italy. Gleeful travelers are lining up along the cobblestone streets to grab a glass from one of the city’s historic watering holes. But what exactly is a wine window and where did the concept come from? And more importantly: How do you find one of these holes-in-a-wall to indulge in a delicious drink for yourself while on one of our tours in Florence? These are four of the best wine windows in Florence. Even better? They’re within walking distance of each other, which means you can visit them all in just one day while on tour in this Renaissance city.

What is a wine window?

Wine windows originated in Florence, Italy, in the homes of wealthy nobles and artisans who produced their own wine. They were allowed to sell their surplus directly from their homes via windows, roughly one foot tall and eight inches wide, usually with a curved top. A bonus for these entrepreneurs? Sales from their homes were tax-free. 

In the 1600s, wine window usage boomed as the bubonic plague ravaged Europe. This time, their main purpose was to reduce interaction between the seller and the buyer and slow the spread of the plague, not avoid taxes. The same safety reasons for wine windows in Florence were revitalized in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, they are more of a novelty (a delightful, unique novelty) than a safety precaution, though we can’t speak to who’s paying what taxes. 

Check out even more unique experiences you can’t miss when in Florence, Italy

Know before you go

Need some more details about wine windows in Florence? Here are some quick answers to common questions.

How do you say, “wine window” in Italian? Buchette del vino.

Is it legal to consume alcohol on the street in Florence, Italy? Yes. You will not get a ticket or be arrested for consuming alcohol on the street.

Where do I put my empty glass when I’m done with my drink? Many bars ask you to bring your empty glass inside to be cleaned. Whatever their system is, the employees will be able to help you with any questions.

Can I get more than wine at a wine window? Every bar or restaurant has different menus. Wine is very common, but many offer cocktails, aperitifs, beer, and even gelato!

How do wine windows work? Many windows have a bell you can ring for service. Some are more like wine doors of Florence than windows, and you can use the attached knocker to get a bartender’s attention. Expect menus nearby to peruse and the convenience of cashless payment, too!

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Where can I find wine windows in Florence, Italy?

Wine windows are peppered around the Renaissance city of Florence. While most have long been covered by stone or brick, their recent resurgence means you can easily stumble on an active window, especially in peak tourist season between the months of May and July. If you want to be sure to find an open wine window during your visit to Florence though, you can find a plethora of these little gems in Santo Spirito, a neighborhood southwest of the Arno River. We’re listing the ones that serve wine and aperitifs, but some windows are used solely for sandwiches, gelato, and other unforgettable Italian treats.

Feeling inclined to visit all of these? Follow this wine windows Florence map beginning to end and the walk (stops for sips not included) will take you only 17 minutes.



Babae

Cut into a mustard-yellow wall and outlined by gray stones, this portal might be one of the most recognizable wine windows in Florence, thanks to TikTokers who have been turning up there in recent months. Babae not only serves wine, but also aperitifs. Get yourself either or both and enjoy it outside on the stone street. Since you can’t get a mixed drink at every wine window, we recommend trying a classic Aperol spritz here. This famous Italian drink is light, orangey, slightly bitter, and effervescent—a perfect cocktail to enjoy on a warm day in Florence. 

Feeling thirsty? Check out 14 classic cocktails from around the world & where to sip them at the source

Fun fact: Babae’s wine window also serves takeout. Order a delectable sandwich and sit wherever you’d like to enjoy it. 

Experience Florence’s wine windows

Il Latini

Best known for its unbelievably delicious, traditional Florentine food, Il Latini is a must if you’re looking for a Florence wine window. Many diners enjoy a glass while waiting for their table, as the restaurant is usually very busy. Picture yourself sipping a light, effervescent frappato—a berry-forward, earthy, rare Italian red wine—and taking in a fiery sunset while you wait to enjoy a bistecca alla Fiorentina or some other drool-worthy dish.  

Fun fact: Il Latini is a Michelin-starred restaurant, which means it’s a popular draw for foodies. We recommend reaching out for reservations well before your tour to up your odds of getting a table. And if you’re curious about other places to dine when in the city, check out our list of the best food in Florence and where to find it.  

Wine and dine in Florence

Osteria Belle Donne

This Florence wine window is best known for its hours, which are so permanent that they’ve long been engraved in the stone wall atop the wooden door (that’s right, this one has a door). Use the iron knocker on this little wine door of Florence to get the bartender’s attention and sip a local wine at your leisure while you enjoy the day, evening, or night. 

Fun fact: Osteria Belle Donne is known for being open year-round. That means that if you’re an off-season traveler, you can still experience this local tradition. 

Thinking of traveling in the shoulder season? Get our guide to off-season travel in Europe.

Visit Florence’s Osteria Belle Donne

Cantina de’ Pucci

Cantina de’ Pucci is conveniently located within walking distance of the Duomo. That means you can sip a classic vino in Florence—think Brunello di Montalcino or Chianti—while admiring one of the most iconic Italian sites. 

Fun fact: Since you’re drinking locally produced wine, you’re skipping a lot of taxes and tariffs in between the winemaker and you. That means that, compared to the European wine you will find in America, your tab will be much lower for your Italian wine. 

Enjoy local wine in Florence

Toast to travel
About the author | Thea Engst
Thea fell in love with travel as soon as she arrived in Venice, Italy on a family trip as a child. Since then, she has made having adventures around the world a priority, with trips like retracing her grandfather’s steps through WWII, climbing glaciers in Alaska, and horseback riding in Iceland. Thea is a nomad at heart, always planning the next trip. In her off-time she is working on a novel inspired by the woman she was named after, mixing cocktails, and watching any procedural crime show she can find.

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Wine windows in Florence: An Italian tradition that’s making a comeback