Italians know a thing or two about style. This is, after all, the land of Giorgetto Giugiaro, Versace, Armani and Gucci. They produce the most beautiful cars in the world (seen the Ferrari California?), and Milan has become a center of European fashion. Just like the shoes and cars that come out of Italy, the country’s legendary gunmakers produce beautiful firearms as well, particularly fine shotguns.
Italy has producing fine guns for over 500 years, with the center of gun manufacturing in the Valtrompia Valley in the northern part of the country. The valley, which lies along the Melle River between the high peaks of the Alps, continues to house some of the world’s finest gunmakers.
Chief among these companies is Fausti Stefano. Known for their exquisite side-by-sides and over/unders, Fausti’s guns combine the skills of master gun makers with the most modern technology. Their guns are solidly built and carefully inspected (a total of 250 points in all) before being sent to the customer. The company’s Four Lock actions are among the toughest on the market.
But the reliability of Fausti’s guns is only half of the story. There guns are among the most beautiful in the world, thanks to extensive hand fitting, superb engraving and quality wood for their stocks. Each hand-engraved Boutique shotgun may require 600 hours of engraving time and up to 180 hand coatings of oil on the stock. Each Boutique gun is fitted to the customer’s specifications and can be customized virtually any way you choose.
Fausti also has a line of production guns that are an excellent value in the world of fine shotguns. Notably, the companies Caledon, Class, Class SL and the svelte little Dea and Dea Duetto (with 28 gauge and .410 barrels) are among the best off-the-shelf guns you can buy.
Today, 64 years after Stefano Fausti began his company in the Valtrompia Valley, his daughters Elena, Giovanna and Barbara are the recognizable face of the company. Their vision has helped them produce a line of shotguns with few rivals in build quality and style. I recently visited the Faustis in Italy and will be doing a series of articles about the guns American magazines. The bottom line, however, is that these guns perform as well as they look. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?