You can't walk around Florence for long before you start to notice what look like tiny windows at the bases of some buildings. The 'windows' are known as buchette del vino (holes of wine) and are unique to Florence.
The buchette del vino originated in the 17th century, during a period of economic crisis, and were the means by which noble families sold their wine direct to the public. Cutting out the middle men had obvious advantages for both buyers and sellers.
The holes are just big enough to allow the passage of a fiasco, a litre-bottle of wine encased in straw. The trade was strictly monitored by the authorities and a few plaques detailing the opening hours can still be seen.
The buchette del vino were often referred to as tabernacoli del vino, as their shape resembled small shrines.