The coronavirus brings life to the ‘wine buchette’ in Florence


Florence recovers the “buchette” or “wine holes”. The coronavirus has had a very negative impact on the hospitality industry in Italy. Especially in cities like Florence, where tourists no longer crowd the streets. Restaurant owners and bars are struggling to survive. A centuries-old tradition of the city can help some of them despite the restrictions. Buchette were created during the Renaissance period, specifically in the second half of the 16th century. They were used to sell products to consumers and were very helpful in maintaining social distancing during the plague, which struck Florence in 1630.

“The result has been phenomenal because people have been able to rediscover the pleasure of going out and seeing a new face, which does not belong to their family environment. And they have also had the opportunity and the pleasure of experiencing something, so beautiful, that a surprising step back in time “, says Silvana Vivoli, owner of an ice cream parlor and a bar in Florence.

The pandemic has seriously affected one of the most touristic cities in the world, with a drop of up to 80% in the volume of business in the hospitality industry.

“The city is almost deserted. There are no tourists. We sell our products to people who live in the area and who ask for something to take away from time to time. Little more,” says Alberto Colivicchi, owner of a restaurant in Florence.

“They made these holes a few centuries ago. For the same reason that then, they use them, again, now. In the seventeenth century it was the plague. Today it is the coronavirus. The function is the same: life must go on but it must be taken all necessary precautions, “says Luca Palamara, Euronews correspondent in Florence.

“Citizens used to have a bottle of wine or a glass of wine and when they went to pay they were given a small bowl that contained a little vinegar so that the coins were placed inside so that they could be disinfected. At that time, this was the best thing that could be done to fight the diseases that plagued the cities “, explains Matteo Faglia, president of the Buchette del Vino Association.

Today, about a quarter of these historic establishments run a high risk of having to close permanently during the next spring. Perhaps an idea from the past that has regained its usefulness will help you move forward.


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