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 preheat 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 in offer in convenience and refinement.
In 1991, I developed a deep affection for Italy while our family lived in the heart of Tuscany near my wife’s hometown of Firenze. During my time there, I learned to love the culture, the language, the food, & the people. I especially had grown to appreciate their love for art and craftsmanship. When we returned to the United States in 1998, we decided to bring some of Italy with us. We applied stucco to the walls of our home, built old brick arches, & even put a wood burning brick oven in our yard. I also brought a large assortment of terracotta so that we could recreate Italy in our home and garden.
Very quickly I realized we were not the only ones who appreciate quality terracotta. So In 1998 I began, Tuscan Imports, a business specializing in the importing of terracotta pottery from Impruneta, Italy. Over the years the business has sold terracotta to a wide variety of clients including hotels, institutions, & estates. Because of this, we now have one of the largest selections of Italian terracotta available in the North America.
In 2008, I discovered the phenomenal outdoor pizza oven made by Italian manufacturer, Fontana Forni. Having already built two traditional ceramic pizza ovens for my own home, I was so impressed with their product as a customer that I pursued a partnership with the company. I began selling their pizza ovens in the United States. This arrangement proved to be beneficial for us both. Shortly thereafter, we quickly worked out a distribution partnership and became the sole North American distributor for their product as Fontana Forni USA.
As demand and interest have grown, so has the business. My sons now help with the sales and order fulfillment. My wife and daughter head up our social media. As a family business we prioritize honest, personal customer service with some of the best products Italy has to offer. We're grateful for the friendships & partnerships we've built along the way. We feel very blessed, and we're excited about what we get to do.
Kirk Laing, Founder
Fontana Forni USA
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