Florence revives Renaissance-era 'food-holes' in bid to curb COVID-19

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By Luca Palamara, Alessio Dell'Anna
A woman picks up a glass of wine through a 'buchetta' (little hole) in Florence
A woman picks up a glass of wine through a 'buchetta' (little hole) in Florence   -  Copyright  Euronews

Florence is reviving a centuries-old food delivery system to help cope amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

When the plague ravaged the Italian city in the 1600s, food was handed to people through small holes in the walls of taverns to stem the contagion.

Today, as part of COVID-19 restrictions, some of those same holes are being used again to sell food and drinks safely.

They are called "buchette" (small holes) and are helping bars and restaurants to survive amid the economic downturn brought by COVID-19, which caused an 80% drop in Florence's hospitality turnover.

Silvana Vivoli, a bar owner in Florence told Euronews that the "buchette" effect was "phenomenal because people rediscovered the pleasure to go out and meet other people outside their immediate family and also the pleasure of this new thing, which is a surprising step back in time”.

Matteo Faglia, president of the Buchette del Vino (Little Wine Holes) association told Euronews how the mechanism used to work centuries ago.

“People used to get a bottle of wine or a glass of wine, and when they had to pay they were given a small bowl with some vinegar in it, where they would put their the coins for disinfection: at that time, it was the best thing one could do to fight the plague”.

**Watch the full report in the video player, above. **