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Christmas visit to Italy - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Christmas visit to Italy

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  • Christmas visit to Italy

    We took 35 high school kids to Italy and Greece over the holidays. We stopped at Pompeii which was fascinating. We went to what was the bakery and here are a few pictures. I will try to get some better pics of the oven from others who were on the tour. My pics of inside the oven didn't come out. The giant pieces of stone were the flour mills, the grains went in up at the top and then were ground between the stones by the use of slaves who walked in circles to turn it. It was very interesting.
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  • #2
    Re: Christmas visit to Italy

    Telehort, Cool looking grind stones, was there a info placard telling about them?
    I'm curious, they look very symetrical and I'm wondering are the grind surfaces cone shaped? They look like they were made to be inverted when they reached a certain amount of wear. If they are cone shaped it would form the funnel on the top and the cone would keep the stone centered on the bottom when it was rotated. Any more info? Those Romans were quite clever.


    • #3
      Re: Christmas visit to Italy

      Wiley - There weren't any placards, but the arm of the person you can see in the picture was our tour guide who would explain what we were looking at. I really wish I would have jumped up and taken a picture of the top of the grind stone, but my understanding was that the rock was funnel shaped on the inside and that there was a hole that the grain would drop through and then be ground again the bottom rock. Maybe someone else has been here and may have some more info. I guess I may have to go google and try and find some more info. As far as your comment about the Romans..I was absolutely amazed at the things they were doing thousands of years ago. It is one thing to learn about it in school, but to actually see it is person, it really blows you away.


      • #4
        Re: Christmas visit to Italy

        That is incredible! Very cool. You would think those grinding stone were made out of concrete to look at, wouldn't you?

        I really must go and see Pompeii one of these days.
        "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)



        • #5
          Re: Christmas visit to Italy

          Hope to make it there next year. This site has some info on the grinding stones/mill. Not surprisingly, the stone is volcanic pumice.

          The Bakery in Pompeii


          • #6
            Re: Christmas visit to Italy

            That's awesome. I can assure you, we never had any cool trips like that when I was in school! Lucky kids. I hope they appreciated it.
            Mike - Saginaw, MI

            Picasa Web Album
            My oven build thread


            • #7
              Re: Christmas visit to Italy

              I'm sure I'm not the first to see this problem, but the first line of the article shadows the whole with the thought that perhaps the author needs a better researcher.

              "Difficult as it is to trace the origin and development of a commercial corn-grinding industry in Pompeii, there seems no doubt that it was becoming steadily more important in the later Republic."

              Corn?! Corn came from the New World.



              • #8
                Re: Christmas visit to Italy

                Ooops. Our second daughter had colonial day at school yesterday. Fifth grade.
                Pizza Ovens
                Outdoor Fireplaces


                • #9
                  Re: Christmas visit to Italy

                  Yes, I noticed that too, but thought perhaps it was a general reference to grains, as in the similar term "barley corn". Could be wrong though.


                  • #10
                    Re: Christmas visit to Italy

                    Yeah, that's right, all grain was referred to as "corn". It wasn't until maize came from here that the entomology changed. This had me confused for years, not that I'm not still confused.



                    • #11
                      Re: Christmas visit to Italy

                      Yes in fact, further research indicates that what you say is correct. Here's a link:
                      Accidental Hedonist - Corn, Maize, Etymology and Defintions

                      As well, had I simply looked up "corn" in my dictionary I would have found that:

                      "1. a single, small, hard seed or seedlike fruit, especially the seed of cereal plants, as wheat, rye, barley, and maize; a grain; a kernel."

                      As a first definition and that what I (and perhaps others) think of when we read or hear the term "corn" is in fact the second definition.

                      I'll not make that mistake again, my education continues.....

                      Last edited by Wiley; 05-10-2009, 07:44 AM.


                      • #12
                        Re: Christmas visit to Italy

                        In reading Tacitus, Livy, etc, I would come across the "corn" en route from Egypt and think, Hey wait! Corn is maize and doesn't arrive for a thousand years or so.. I finally looked it up.
                        As far as making the same mistakes twice, I still do that quite well.