From the New York Post, news of an interesting revival:
Medieval ‘wine windows’ are reopening, reviving Italian plague tradition
By Hannah Sparks
It’s a quaint tradition — with a very dark history.
Centuries ago, the bubonic plague, otherwise known as the Black Death, swept through Europe, killing one-third of the continent’s population at the time. Originating in Asia, the disease made its way to Italy during the late Middle Ages, and spread north from there.
These days, we know just as well as medieval Italians that a stiff drink can go a long way to ease troubles during the global coronavirus pandemic.
Thus, the “wine windows,” or buchette del vino, of Tuscany. They are just as they sound: pint-size hatches, carved into the concrete walls of urban wineries and shops, where beverage merchants would serve sips at a safe social distance.
First introduced in the 1600s, their true purpose went untapped for centuries after the plague — that is, until a new one came along this year.
“Everyone is confined to home for two months and then the government permits a gradual reopening,” the Wine Window Association website reads. “During this time, some enterprising Florentine Wine Window owners have turned back the clock and are using their Wine Windows to dispense glasses of wine, cups of coffee, drinks, sandwiches and ice cream — all germ-free, contactless!”
More (including photos) at the link.