An experimental campaign is presented to determine the effects of high temperatures on the mechanical properties of several materials for masonry walls (blocks and mortars), testing a series of cylindrical specimens (diameter of 100 mm and height of 200 mm). After compression tests at 20 °C, an experimental procedure was designed for high-temperature testing. The cylindrical samples were heated in a muffle furnace, then were inserted into a specific apparatus (called ‘thermos’) for maintaining the prescribed temperature, and finally were subjected to a mechanical compression test. The results obtained by applying this procedure show a common variation of the strength, reduction of modulus of elasticity, and corresponding increments of the ultimate strain with temperature enhancement. Specific diagrams and discussion on the results are performed for each material. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.