The Wood-Fired Blog

Press Release 070104

Jul 01, 2004Posted by Forno Bravo

For Immediate Release

Contact Information

James Bairey
39 333 175 0459 (Italy)
1 800 407-5119 (U.S.)

Forno Bravo Unveils Pompeii Oven, Brings Ancient Rome Back to Life

Company Posts Free Plans on the Internet to Build a Replica of the Original Pompeii Wood Fire Brick Ovens

Healdsburg, CA and San Gimignano, Italy — July 1, 2004. Forno Bravo, a California company that imports Italian wood fire ovens to the U.S., today announced that it has posted a free set of plans on the Internet for building a traditional round Italian brick oven. Using the plans, anyone can build a true wood fire bread and pizza oven using standard materials found at a local building supply store. The plans are patterned after the original ancient Roman ovens uncovered in Pompeii. The first Pompeii Oven replica is nearly complete, and will be ready to cook pizza at a July 4″th party. Other oven building projects are also underway.

“Brick ovens have been with us since the dawn of civilization, and the ovens discovered in Pompeii are incredibly well designed and very well preserved,” said James Bairey, founder and president of Forno Bravo. “To this day, the brick oven is the best way to cook pizza, bread and roasts. They cook using conduction, convection and radiant heat — all at the same time. That is something no modern oven can do. The Pompeii Oven project was hatched during a trip to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Sorrento. After seeing the ancient ovens, I was struck by how similar they were to the world-class brick ovens that are used in modern Italian Pizzerias. That was when I realized that with the right set of plans, an American hobbyist could build one of these fabulous ovens at their home.”

The Pompeii Oven plans are a collaborative effort between Forno Bravo and Jim Hatch, a brick oven enthusiast who built the first oven at his Connecticut home. The plans clearly describe the entire process for building the oven, including the stand, hearth, round spherical dome, chimney, finish and trim. They include photographs, graphs, tables and a list of the materials and tools needed for the project, along with photographs of the original Pompeii Ovens. The plans take advantage of modern thermal and insulating products that make the oven more heat efficient, and easy for homeowners to build. The oven heats up fast for weekend pizza parties, and holds its heat for roasting and baking bread.

“I wanted to install a brick oven in my back garden, and was considering various options when I learned about the Pompeii Oven plans,” said Hatch. “The design of the oven is excellent, which is remarkable considering that the basic design is over 2,000 years old. The round, spherical shape is the right way of building an oven. It’s perfect for cooking 3-minute Italian pizzas, it’s efficient with wood, and it’s easy to keep clean. We are looking forward to seeing other people build this oven.”

“We want to make the brick oven as widely used in the U.S. as it is in Italy, where the wood fire oven rivals the BBQ in popularity,” continued Mr. Bairey. “These are wonderful ovens that cook beautifully and are really fun to use. By making these plans available for free to the Power Hobbyist who has the skill to build an oven from scratch, we are taking another step toward reaching our goal.”

Forno Bravo also sells prefabricated ovens for both residential and restaurant use, and has created a family of pre-assembled ovens for the home user that make it practical and affordable to install a true wood fire oven in the kitchen or garden.

Practical Details

The Pompeii Oven plans can be found by going to and clicking on the Pompeii Oven link at the bottom of the page. Forno Bravo’s prices start at $2,000 for a typical oven.

About Forno Bravo

Forno Bravo imports handcrafted Italian wood fire ovens to the U.S. The company has developed relationships with Italy’s leading producers and artisans who build these wonderful ovens, and has created innovative installation products that make it easy and affordable to own a wood fire oven. The company has offices in Tuscany, Italy, and Healdsburg, California, and can be found at


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