Pompeii Oven™: Free Brick Oven Plans

An Introduction
The Pompeii Oven is a set of free, downloadable plans that describe how to build a traditional Italian brick pizza oven. The oven is constructed using firebricks, high temp mortar, insulation, along with other materials easily found at building supply stores (Home Depot, Lowe's, B&Q, etc.). It's a great oven, and a great project.

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Much like Open Source Software, the plans are freely accessible for your use. If you are curious why the plans are free (really), read our Why Free page. Otherwise, join our User Group, invite a friend, and have fun!

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Alternatively, you can order the Forno Bravo CD ROM. It is the definitive work on wood-fired oven installation and cooking, and includes the Pompeii Oven eBook, along with all of the Forno Bravo installation guides, specification sheets, wood-fired cooking eBook, how-to videos, and other resources. It isn't free, but it contains a wealth of information.

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If you are ready to build a Pompeii Oven at your house, be sure to check out the Forno Bravo Pompeii Oven Kit. It provides the essential (and often hard to find) materials you need to build the Pompeii Oven. Each Kit includes enough medium duty 9”x4.5”x2.5” firebricks to build the oven dome and vent, along with 12”x12”x2.5” cooking floor tiles, high temp, waterproof mortar, dome insulation and floor insulation. It could save you a lot of time and hassle shopping, and it could even save you some money.

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The Pompeii Oven Kit

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Wood-fired brick ovens and pizza have been with us since the dawn of civilization. Both have been discovered in the excavations of virtually every ancient civilization, with the brick oven reaching its modern form in ancient Rome. The brick ovens uncovered in ancient Pompeii and Naples are in wonderful shape, and could start baking today with only minor renovations -- the Pompeii Oven is named in their honor. When you have a minute, take a look at our ancient Pompeii Oven Photographs.

In modern Italy, the basic Pompeii Oven design is used to build the brick ovens you see in pizzerias and private homes and gardens. The oven is great for cooking pizza, roasts, focaccia and bread. It heats up quickly and is efficient at holding the high heats required for cooking the perfect three-minute pizza. The Pompeii Oven is also very efficient with wood fuel and at holding heat. If you are interesting in reading more about the theory behind the Pompeii Oven design, read our Why Round page.

There are literally millions of round wood-fired ovens in Italy, putting you in very good company should you decide to build a Pompeii Oven at your home. The brick oven is as common in Italy as the BBQ, and our goal is to bring these great ovens into the American and British mainstream. Today, thousands of Pompeii Ovens have been built in America, Britain, Mexico, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, the Philippines, France, Sweden, the Virgin Islands, and Thailand -- and more Pompeii Ovens are being built every day.

We know that there are other plans for building a brick oven, but we are confident that the Pompeii Oven is the right design for virtually every homeowner. Heck, 65 million Italians couldn't all be wrong about their Round Brick Ovens. Take a look at our Brick Oven Photograph site for inspiration, and to see more photographs of Pompeii Ovens -- both in process and complete.

Oven Size
The plans describe 36" and 42" (internal diameter) brick oven sizes. Click to see the basic Oven and Stand Dimensions for the two oven sizes.You can either follow these directions closely, building your oven to the same dimensions we describe, or you can make modifications to meet your specific size or space requirements. We do not describe a small 30"-32" oven, because while you can readily build an oven this size, the additional cost and effort of building the larger 36" are not great. The 42" brick oven is large enough for a majority of home cooking requirements, so we do not describe a larger oven.

Getting Started
We recommend that you join the Forno Bravo User Group before you start your project. The community can answer your questions and try to help you get off on the right foot. Also, please email us with comments and recommendations for improving the plans. One of the great powers of the Internet is that it enables us to quickly incorporate your recommendations into the plans, so that others can gain from your experience. We will be keeping this site up to date.

Take lots of pictures, and when your oven is completed, please forward them to us so that we can post them to the site. Use of the plans is widely encouraged, so tell your friends.

Again, you should also consider joining the Forno Bravo user group at www.fornobravo.com/forum. We discuss brick oven installation, pizza, cooking and Italian food, and it's a good community. Please feel to join even if you are not going to build a brick oven, and want to share your experiences using a pizza stone.

Also, when you are finished, please keep coming back to www.fornobravo.com to enjoy the sections on brick oven management, techniques, and cooking. Send us your favorite recipes and techniques, and we will post them in our food section.

You can also buy your pizza peels, pizza oven accessories and pizza flour from the Forno Bravo Store.

A Note
Please take a moment to read all of the instructions, and look at all of photographs, before embarking on the Pompeii Oven project. It is not for everyone. The project can be challenging, and requires a level of masonry skill and muscle power.

Our goal is to bring the pleasure of true wood fired cooking to the American home, garden and chef, and there a number of ways that we can help make that happen. If it appears that the Pompeii Oven project might be beyond your skill set, or available time, contact us regarding a traditional modular oven kit.

How the Online Plans Work
The online Pompeii Oven plans feature a single column of text describing the construction process, and a second column which contains graphics, charts and photographs.

The pages of the plans are linked into two ways. At the bottom of each page there is a clickable link to the following page. You can simply click your way through the entire set of plans one page at a time.

Alternatively, there is also a Table of Contents page link at the bottom of each page. If you want to go directly to a specific page, click on the Table of Contents link, then click on the specific page you want.

We have also created a Materials List page, that outlines what you need to buy and how much of it, where to buy it, as well as the tools you will need for the project. We refer to the Material List throughout the plans.

Good luck with your brick oven project.

To continue, click on Background Information.

Or, jump straight to the Table of Contents.

Italian brick oven
A professionally made round Italian oven (Forno Bravo Artigiano)

brick oven enclosure
The First Pompeii Oven in Gabled House

brick oven landing
Number Two

brick oven construction
Number Three

brick oven: first fire
Number Four

brick oven dome
Thousands of Pompeii Ovens have been build around the world.