Publicly-Accessible Bread Ovens Return to Rome
To promote home-made food and community collaboration, a group of architects and artists are building public wood-burning bread ovens around Rome using millennia-old methods.
Ancient Romans used a city-wide network of at least 500 public masonry ovens to prepare their daily bread, and the practice persisted in Rome until World War II, when technology rendered the ovens obsolete.
Three new ovens have been constructed so far as part of the "Forno Popolare" (People's Oven) project to bring back communal bread, foccacia, and pizza-making.
The latest oven was built in Primavalle near the Ipsia "De Amicis" school and the former Preneste movie theatre—now home to the collaborative art group Mangianastro. The entire process of building the "Nura-oven", so named for the Sardinian structures it was modelled after, has been documented in the 15-minute video below, complete with a constant background of live music provided by Mangianastro.
New ovens are made slowly, without the aid of any modern technology, over the course of many days. Local stones are collected and slotted together to form walls, which are held together with cement mixed from scratch on site. Mud, clay, twigs, and shards of pottery from the ovens' locations are also mixed in along the way.
Future construction will be documented on the Forno Popolare website, which also includes a map of the current wood-fired oven network.