Drinking establishments in Florence, Italy, are reviving the old practice of:
A. Refusing to serve wine to women before 5 pm
B. Putting sprigs of herbs in wines to add a sense of freshness to the flavor
C. Serving wine through “windows” to customers standing outside
D. Using a gallo della fortuna pitcher to pour wine directly into patrons’ mouths from 6 feet above
Known as buchette del vino, the windows were first used in the 17th century, during the plague, as a way for merchants to sell surplus wine without touching the infected. After customers left their payment on a metal pallet, the vendor would disinfect the coins with vinegar. The Associazione Buchette del Vino provides a map of the estimated 150 windows that still exist in Florence (with another 100 or so scattered throughout Tuscany). While the windows were traditionally used to serve wine, modern tastes call for cocktails, espressos, and gelato to be added to the menu. Fascinatingly enough, the gallo della fortuna (rooster of good fortune) wine pitcher is believed to have been commissioned in the 1500s by Giuliano di Lorenzo de’ Medici (1479-1516), a member of one of the most powerful landowning families in Florence during the Renaissance, to celebrate his narrow escape from an assassination attempt. As the mercenaries approached de’ Medici while he lay sleeping, the providential crowing of local roosters roused the nobleman and his guards. In Tuscany since then, the rooster has been a symbol of blessings, prosperity, and well-being, as well as one of the symbols of Chianti Classico.