It’s 7 degrees outside and they’re predicting snow so I’m naturally thinking about how to stay warm and in Italy one of the oldest ways besides an open fireplace to heat your home and cook your food was with a stufa, a wood burning stove. Besides the food, wine and hospitality of the Italian people, one of the most comforting images I have of Italy is the Italian stufa. Our cousins in Portogruaro have one. My favorite is at an albergo in Varena (near Bolzano) jn the Val di Fiemme in Trentino, a beautiful forest green giant of a stufa in the middle of the common dining room.
Italy is one of the biggest markets for wood-burning stoves in Europe. Around 30% of all homes in Italy use wood for heat. The traditional full wood burning ceramic stove (stufa al legna di tradizione) is both functional and a statement of art and design. Some of the most beautiful are made by Thun and Italian ceramicists from the Castellamonte area of Piemonte. The design behind the Castellamonte stoves is based on hundreds of years of tradition beginning in the 19th century when the classic Castellamonte stove with its elaborate decorations and bright-colored glazes made it a prized piece of furniture. New and innovative designs, state of the art technology and a renewed appreciation for how beneficial this kind of heat could be make the crackling of the fire one of the most comforting sounds around.