Fontana History

The Fontana tradition of excellence and craftsmanship goes back to 1945, when Giuseppe Fontana, the eldest of nine children, returned from the war to his hometown of San Lorenzo In Campo in the Marche region of Italy. Needing a vocation, he started a small blacksmith and farrier’s shop, making cast-iron tools for the farmers in the surrounding countryside and shoeing their horses. In 1952, Giuseppe’s younger brothers Bruno and Carlo joined him, expanding the business into the building and repair of farming equipment. They began hiring additional employees in 1954, as demand for their products and services quickly grew.

In 1973, the Fontana brothers decided it was finally time to move from the “workshop downstairs” into a real factory, building an industrial space of 1200 square meters. This enabled their expansion into carpentry machinery, adding to the company’s growing reputation as one of Italy’s most distinguished metal crafters.

It was five years later when they produced their signature achievement—the one with which the Fontana name has been identified ever since. In 1978, the Fontana brothers saw how the carpenters of the Marche region, along with people all over the world, were affected by the energy crisis of the 1970s.

Looking for alternatives to the carpentry market and for ways to help people save fuel, the brothers noted that for many Italians, wood use was highly inefficient. There had to be a way, they thought, for a wood-fired oven to achieve and maintain high heat without the many hours of preheating time and without the prodigious amounts of wood that traditional ovens consumed. And they proved themselves right when they designed and built the first-ever indirect combustion oven.

The new oven was a great success, and its popularity spread throughout Italy. Nevertheless, the Fontana brothers continued to examine and revise their design to discover and implement improvements. In 1986, they produced their oven’s first major redesign, introducing interior lighting and a system of forced ventilation inside the oven’s cooking chamber. They also created a version of the oven that could be installed inside homes, revolutionizing wood-fired cooking in Italy.

Today, Fontana Forni employs 28 high-level craftsmen, and is led by Giovanni, Marco, Alessandro, and Nicola Fontana. The Fontana family is proud to be synonymous with the only wood-fired oven on the market today that combines the finest old-world Italian craftsmanship with the best that modern technology has to offer in convenience and refinement.