Ten years ago, a post on Tuscan Traveler celebrated the “wine portals” of Florence, known in Italian as buchette del vino or “wine holes.” On December 13, 2017, official recognition is being given to these ancient architectural artifacts with the placement of a plaque at the buchetta del vino of the Palazzo Antinori.
The noblest families of Florence, having a palazzo, in the center of Florence would also have agricultural property outside of the city walls or further out in the countryside. These Florentinepalaces would store their foodstuffs, including wine and oil, in the basement or cantina. To facilitate the sale of wine tiny doors allowed access to the cantina without disturbing the palazzo residents. From the 15th century, until about 100 years ago, the wine holes allowed direct sale to the public; the transaction happened right on the street, through one of these portals.
In 2015, an association dedicated solely to buchette del vino – Associazione ‘Buchette del Vino’ – was started. It’s president Matteo Faglia reports that the association has documented 167 wine holes in Florence (they are protected from removal by the city’s agency for the preservation of historical arts and architecture). Not all are in pristine condition, but the Association has documented them in a fascinating photo gallery (with addresses) on its website. Fewer portals have been saved throughout Tuscany (about 70 in 28 locations).
Next time you are in Florence, try to locate at least those deemed the favorites by Tuscan Traveler, especially the one at Palazzo Antinori and the other in Palazzo Viviani.