A minimum of mescita still continues in bars like these (it’s generally on the brink of extinction), offering little more than toast topped with chicken liver pate or a hard-boiled egg, alongside the traditional gottino (a small tumbler of wine with a thick base, symbolic of Florentine red wine) or a more contemporary glass.
In the past, artisans and workers, now employees and professionals, stopped long enough for a snack and a glass of wine. Some of these vinaini (as these wine sellers were affectionately called, depending on their size) were just street-side counters, barely sheltered from the rain. Several were situated in via de’ Neri (L’Antico Vinaio is more famous all over the world for its schiacciate filled with cured meats and cheese rather than for wine), in via dell’Anguillara and under the Arco di San Piero.
The only one that has remained unchanged over time is the legendary I Fratellini, in via dei Cimatori, a great place for a sandwich and a tumbler of wine. In the Oltrarno, head for Enoteca Fuoriporta, a stone’s throw from San Niccolò, which just celebrated 30 years of business.