Home Destinations 9 Beautiful Wine Windows in Florence and Where to Find Them (Map Included)

9 Beautiful Wine Windows in Florence and Where to Find Them (Map Included)

Step back to the 16th century with a glass of your favourite wine as you spot the most charming wine windows in Florence

by Michele
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Wine windows in Florence - Via dei Pucci, 4A - Wine glass
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Florence is a city that never fails to captivate with its rich tapestry of stories and traditions. Amidst the countless wonders that await you in the Tuscan capital, hidden treasures can suddenly appear before your eyes. Imagine walking down a quiet street and stumbling upon a tiny door on the facade of a noble palace. These are no ordinary doors but rather the famous wine windows of Florence.

For centuries, these unassuming openings were used by locals to sell wine directly to customers passing by. And while they often tend to slip under the radar amidst Florence’s many charms, these secretive openings hold a special place in the city’s history and cultural heritage.

Table of contents

Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:

The origin of wine windows in Florence

Wine windows in Florence - Basilica di San Lorenzo

Wine window opposite Basilica di San Lorenzo

The tradition of wine windows dates back to the 16th century when aristocratic families were granted permission to sell the wine they produced in the countryside to consumers directly from their houses, without any middlemen or taxes.

Cosimo de Medici, a clever banker and lord of Florence, was the mastermind behind this new sales practice. This way of doing business served a few purposes, from enabling landowners who’d long invested in agriculture to increase their revenues to reducing overcrowding in public places that might lead to public disturbances.c

However, the true genius of these wine windows came to light during the plague that hit Florence in the 17th century. With the city in the throes of a deadly epidemic, the wine windows proved an ingenious architectural solution that allowed commerce to continue without risking further contagion.

Wine windows have been in use until the 1920s. But as fate would have it, history repeated itself in 2020 with the onset of the pandemic. Many savvy restaurateurs and bar owners were able to weather the storm by serving customers through these windows.

Wine windows in Florence and Where to find them

What does a wine window look like?

Wine windows in Florence - Converted wine window - Alberto BruschiWine windows were tiny little portals on the main facades of the palazzi, often next to the main entrance, and were big enough to accommodate a glass of wine. Plus, they were ingeniously placed at arm’s height to ease the exchange between seller and buyer while simultaneously providing the owner with privacy.

On an architectural level, they are reminiscent of religious tabernacles, with a door-like shape, wooden shutters crowned with an arch, and elegant stone or wooden frames. In some cases, they were simply an opening into the wooden doors of the palace (as seen at Palazzo Naldini in Piazza Duomo).

Behind these small windows laid the palace’s cellar, where a servant presided over the sale of wine at specific times of the day, which were indicated by a stone plaque positioned near the opening.

Where to find wine windows in Florence

Wine windows in Florence - Closed wine windowWith approximately 180 charming wine windows scattered throughout the historic centre alone, it’s clear that this was a prosperous business in its day.

Today, thanks to the efforts of the Buchette del Vino Cultural Association, these historical gems are being meticulously documented, studied, and preserved. And while most of these wine windows have long been sealed up over the years, some are still in operation, offering a unique glimpse into the city’s past.

Discovering these hidden treasures is one of those unusual things to do in Florence that’s sure to add a unique twist to your itinerary. You can do it with this fun guided tour on two wheels or venture out on your own using these handy notes.

Map of the wine windows in Florence

9 Beautiful wine windows in Florence

Here are some of the prettiest wine windows in Florence, some of which are still in use!

Gelateria Vivoli

Wine windows in Florence - Gelateria Vivoli - Via dell’Isola delle Stinche



Where: Via dell’Isola delle Stinche, 7r

This lovely gelateria near Santa Croce discovered its wine window during the disastrous flood of 1966. The water destroyed a wall, revealing this cute portal that had been long forgotten. Since then, the window has been resurrected and was first used to dispense gelato and coffee during the recent pandemic. Vivoli serves some of the best gelato in Florence too!


Wine windows in Florence - Babae wine window open Wine windows in Florence - Babae wine window closed with artworkWhere: Via Santo Spirito, 21R

On the other side of the Arno, Babae is a lovely bistrot that uses its ancient wine window – one of the most popular in Florence – to serve wine and a select list of cocktails by the glass during the hours of aperitivo. Patrons can select their preferred drink, ring the bell, and enjoy. Make sure to come here for one of the best aperitivo in Florence.

Via Belle Donne, 2

Wine windows in Florence - Via Belle Donne 2Where: Via Belle Donne, 2

This little wine window stands out for the presence of the original stone plaque right above it, displaying the hours of operation. Just a few doors up the street, Osteria Belle Donne has a cute wine window that’s still in operation.

Via del Giglio, 2

Wine windows in Florence - Via del Giglio, 2 - Buchetta del vinoWhere: Via del Giglio, 2

Here is the home to one of the prettiest and best-preserved wine windows in Florence. Its charming frame is a work of art in itself, complete with rustic ashlars, and the window maintains its original door. Above it, the inscription vendita di vino (“wine for sale”) beckoned to passersby, while the stone plaque nearby displays the opening hours.

Cantina del Gelato

Wine windows in Florence - Cantina del Gelato - Buchetta del vino

Where: Via de’ Bardi, 31

This wine window is curiously unframed but adorned with a unique rounded plaque bearing the unmistakable inscription Cantina. Sta aperta dalle 9 alle 3 (Translation: Cellar. Is open from 9am to 3pm). Though now mainly utilized to communicate the gelateria’s opening hours, this historical window is not to be missed.

Tip: This window may be covered by the main door when the gelateria is open.

Il Latini

Wine windows in Florence - Il Latini Wine windows in Florence - Il Latini wine windowWhere: Via dei Palchetti, 6r

This historical fiaschetteria was once the cellar of Palazzo Rucellai. It’s got a wine window right by the entrance that’s still used to serve wine by the glass, perfectly complementing the buzzing atmosphere of this popular local hangout.

Palazzo Ramirez de Montalvo

Wine windows in Florence - Palazzo Ramirez de Montalvo - Decorative facadeWhere: Borgo degli Albizi, 86r

Located at Palazzo Ramirez de Montalvo is a wine window framed by a beautiful facade decorated by the Florentine fresco painter Bernardino Poccetti and based on a design by the famous Vasari. Constructed in 1558, this Palazzo boasts a large Medici family coat of arms. The ground floor is home to the fabulous historic Marzotto paper and cardboard shop dating from 1890, when Antonio Marzotto, a nobleman from Treviso, founded a Florentine paper production business here. In 1961 the business was handed over to Florentine Donato Cubattoli and is still run today by his son Andrea and Barbara Baravelli.

Wine windows in Florence - Marzotto paper and cardboard-shop

Borgo degli Albizi, 11

Wine windows in Florence - Borgo degli Albizi, 11Where: Borgo degli Albizi, 11

Here’s another little wine window that withstood the test of time. It still boasts its original door complete with a well-preserved knob once used for knocking. Plus, the frame was carved from a single block of stone, adding to its beauty.

Cantina de’ Pucci

Wine windows in Florence - Via dei Pucci, 4AWhere: Via dei Pucci, 4A

This elegant restaurant occupies the 16th-century Palazzo Pucci, one of Florence’s most prized historic palaces. A wine window still stands among its age-old walls, and guests can still taste exquisite wines from the restaurant’s well-stocked cellar through it.

Don’t miss my guide to the TOP Things to do in Florence

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Wine windows in Florence and Where to find them (Map Included)

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