I have two ovens in NorCal (in and out) and have installed ovens at both our rental houses in Italy. I feel like the Johnny Appleseed of brick ovens (leaving them behind).
There are three good reasons behind the Italian design (round):
1. The round dome is self-standing (ala the Duomo in Florence), so it does not need a lot of concrete clapping to hold it together. It is lighter and heats up much faster. A round oven will heat in an hour (or less depending on the type), where the heavier ovens take 2-3 hours, or more. That means you are burning more wood (which isn't good for the environment or your pocketbook). For me, the heat time is the difference between using my oven after work, or not. Round oven users fire their ovens a couple of times a week, and I know bread oven owners that never fire their ovens.
2. With a round oven you have room for your fire on one side, and food/pizza on the other side and in the back. It's all reachable. With a 32x36 rectangular oven, there isn't a good place for the fire. If you put it on the side, you have very little room on the side, and the back is lost. If you put it in the back, the fire doesn't reflect to the front of the oven. A 35" round gives you much more usable space than a 32x36. For all the effort you are going to be putting into this, a 32x36 rectangular oven is a one-pizza oven -- which is a shame.
3. The round, spherical dome does a better job of bouncing heat down to the cooking floor evenly. You can cook pizza everywhere (or roasts and veggies) in the oven, and it cooks evenly. That is how the high volume pizzerias cook all those pizzas. The rectangular oven has a barrel vault, which gives you hot and cool spots, depending where the fire it.
There are also little things, like clean up.
The downside is that you can only bake around 25 loaves of bread from a single firing, not 75. But for a home oven, that works for me. I make more bread than we could ever eat, and give lots away.
There are about a million pizza ovens in Italy, and they are all round. They also have bread ovens for pane cotta a legna, which are barrell vault ovens.
The bricks themselves at stacked on top of each other, so there are few/no mortar joints facing inside the oven. It also looks nice. Take a closer look at the plans, and photos of other builder's ovens, and (if you haven't yet) join the user group. It will be helpful, and we just posting a recipe for roasting a 20lb fresh ham!http://www.fornobravo.comhttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/fornobravo/