Friday, March 25, 2011

From Pompeii to the Near Present

Although I found many wood-fired ovens in Campania, Umbria, and Tuscany, Italy, few of them were older than 100 years. Fortunately, the excavation of Pompeii and some good leads, lead me to one 600 year-old oven still in use in the town of Civita di Bagnoreggio, in Umbria.

A fairly old looking door covered the mouth of a second oven in this town but I couldn't find the owner for permission to look inside.
The significant difference between the Pompeii and the 'newer' 600 year-old ovens was the lack of a smoke throat on the outdoor ones in Bagnoreggio.

Most of the old ovens had a flat lintel leading into the oven itself. The decorative arch, associated with more modern designs of brick ovens was predated by a long stone over the mouth.
The brick arches on the Pompeii ovens were in front of the throat and served to guide smoke upwards as well as shelter the products going in and out of the ovens.

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