An Introduction to the Pompeii brick oven
The Pompeii is a diy pizza oven in an Italian brick oven tradition. We offer a free set of downloadable pizza oven plans in our store.
The Pompeii wood fired 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.). We sell many project support items in our online store under product installation supplies. It’s a great brick oven and a great project for those who want to build an Italian brick oven.
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 Forum, invite a friend, and have fun!
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.
If you are ready to build an Italian brick oven at your house, be sure to check out our online store. We carry high temp mortar, dome insulation, floor insulation, and multiple venting options. It could save you a lot of time and hassle shopping, and it could even save you some money. For those who want to save time and have a high-quality pizza oven customized to their home without the challenge of starting from scratch, we suggest our modular oven kits.
Wood fired brick ovens and retained heat cooking 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 hearth bread 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 brick oven design is used to build the outdoor brick pizza ovens you see in pizzerias, private homes, and outdoor kitchens. The wood fired oven is great for cooking pizza napoletana, roasts, focaccia, and bread (check out our community cookbook for hundreds of recipes). It heats up quickly and is efficient at holding the high heats required for cooking the perfect three-minute pizza. The Pompeii brick oven is also very efficient with wood fuel and at holding heat. If you are interested 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 good company should you decide to build an Italian brick oven at your home. The brick oven is as common in Italy as the BBQ, and our goal is to bring these outdoor brick pizza ovens into the American and international 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 pizza oven plans for building a brick oven, but we are confident that the Pompeii oven is the right design for virtually every homeowner’s outdoor kitchen. Heck, 65 million Italians couldn’t all be wrong about their round brick ovens. Take a look at our outdoor brick pizza ovens gallery for inspiration, and to see more photographs of Pompeii ovens — both in the process and complete.
Brick oven size
The pizza oven 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 Italian brick 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 brick oven.
We recommend that you join the Forno Bravo Forum before you start your project. The community can answer your questions and try to help you get off on the right foot. Also, please contact us us at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and recommendations for improving the pizza oven 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 pizza oven photos, and when your brick oven is completed, please forward them to us so that we can post them to the site. Use of the pizza oven plans is widely encouraged, so tell your friends.
Again, you should also consider joining the Forno Bravo Forum and our vibrant Pizza Community with fantastic content like Pizza Quest with Peter Reinhart. We cover installation, maintenance, use, recipes, food, fire, and family. We believe it is the largest and most vibrant free pizza community on the planet. And if outdoor brick pizza ovens aren’t in your budget yet, join anyway, dream and learn about alternate techniques like using a Pizza Stone.
While all this is free to our community, of course we would like you to support us by buying some of our great products in the Forno Bravo Store.
Please take a moment to read all of the instructions, and look at all of the photographs, before embarking on the Pompeii brick oven project. It is not for everyone. The project can be challenging and requires a level of masonry skill and muscle power. You can consider a modular pizza oven kit to save weeks and guarantee the quality of your oven, or choose a fully assembled pizza oven from the widest product offering in the market. These ovens will be as good or better, but we can’t deny the satisfaction of building your own brick oven from scratch!
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 in 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!
For additional reading, jump to the Table of Contents.