In 1559, a law was passed allowing wealthy families in Florence to sell some of their wine, tax free, directly from their homes to local residents. By cutting out the merchants, Florence nobility increased their profits, while citizens were able to purchase cheaper wines. Thus, the wine door or wine door, known as “Doors of Paradise” was born. This little opening, located next to, or sometimes as part of a main door, made it easy to exchange money for flasks of wine without much physical contact with others. The wine door came in handy in the 1600’s as plaques ravaged through Tuscany. It might be one of the first examples of social distancing in the world. 

Approximately 285 wine doors exist in and around Florence. The Buchette del Vino Association has a map with all known wine doors listed. Once you discover one, it can almost become an obsession searching for more in the city. Some of these medieval relics have been lost to time, but most are well preserved. Even better, some are still in operation today and we have listed the best below.

Babae not only serves patrons incredible Tuscan cuisine, their wine window serves the nectar of the gods to a line of guests waiting each day. Ring the small bell in the window and watch as an arm slowly positions a beautiful glass of red, white, or rose in your hand.

Osteria Belle Donne Enjoy a great veal chop, or a delicious Tuscan pasta dish, in this well decorated establishment. Their wine window is not always open, but if you make a request to the server, they will open it to serve you a glass.

Il Latini is one of the oldest restaurants in Florence, routinely delivering one of the best Florentine steaks in town. Guests are able to order wine through a window located near the front door.

Vivoli Gelateria This shop opened its window so it could serve customers during the pandemic. From time to time, they will open the window to customers.  If you see it open, ring the window’s bell for service. They change flavors often, but two mainstays to try are the tiramisu and the mango.

A Viator bicycle tour threads you through Florence’s streets, highlighting many doors of paradise. It is a fun and educational way to experience the wine door history in Florence.

You might also enjoy:

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *