As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
I was looking through records (from the 1830s) of Rapone, a small town in Potenza, Basilicata and I noticed the profession of Fuochista on a couple of occasions. Now, I have checked and I think it means 'fireman', and I am just wondering if these small towns would have had firemen (as we know them today) - it just seems strange. The majority of people were farmers, while in town there were barbers, shoemakers, tailors, bakers, midwives, carpenters, innkeepers etc So, Fuochista - a fireman, or maybe someone who supplied wood for fires??
The direct occupation in english would be "stoker" or somoone who tends to and stokes a fire. Since it is in an agericulutral area the thought comes to mind that it may relate to someone who stokes a fire in the making of charcoal, bricks, tiles etc etc. =Peter=