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Beauty Marks on Steel

Beauty Marks on Steel

Beauty Marks on Steel

STORY BY Greggory Elliott
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Terry Allen and Courtesy of Stefano Pedretti

Beauty Marks on Steel

STORY BY Greggory Elliott
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Terry Allen and Courtesy of Stefano Pedretti

Beauty Marks on Steel

STORY BY Greggory Elliott
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Terry Allen and Courtesy of Stefano Pedretti
‘‘

Gardone, Val Trompia, isn’t a tourist town. Though that part of northern Italy is thick with natural beauty—ragged mountains, shimmering lakes, rolling green valleys—and Gardone’s ristorantes and trattorias serve spectacular food, few vacationers spend much time there—unless they’re passionate about firearms. Gardone is the heart of the Italian gun trade, as it’s been for more than 500 years. Today, several of the world’s finest gunmakers have shops in and around town. The side-by-sides and over-and-unders built there are beautiful in many ways—and one of their most impressive aspects is their engraving.

More than three thousand years ago, craftsmen in Gardone were using the region’s plentiful iron ore to build spears, knives, and shields. By the 15th Century, they were also making firearms. While colonial America fought for its independence, Gardone was busy as one of the gunmaking capitals of Europe. But after the United States was born and the 19th Century began, political forces in Europe flared up and blew Italy apart. Gardone’s gun trade was left in shambles. Bits and pieces survived, and a few makers limped along until the World Wars revived their trade. Then as World War II ended, the demand disappeared. If gunmaking were to survive in this Italian valley, the craftsmen there would have to find a way to reinvent their trade.

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ARTICLES FROM THE OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015 ISSUE
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Beauty Marks on Steel

Gardone, Val Trompia, isn’t a tourist town. Though that part of northern Italy is thick with natural beauty—ragged mountains, shimmering lakes, rolling green valleys—and Gardone’s ristorantes and trattorias serve spectacular food, few vacationers spend much time there—unless they’re passionate about firearms. Gardone is the heart of the Italian gun trade, as it’s been for more than 500 years. Today, several of the world’s finest gunmakers have shops in and around town. The side-by-sides and over-and-unders built there are beautiful in many ways—and one of their most impressive aspects is their engraving.

More than three thousand years ago, craftsmen in Gardone were using the region’s plentiful iron ore to build spears, knives, and shields. By the 15th Century, they were also making firearms. While colonial America fought for its independence, Gardone was busy as one of the gunmaking capitals of Europe. But after the United States was born and the 19th Century began, political forces in Europe flared up and blew Italy apart. Gardone’s gun trade was left in shambles. Bits and pieces survived, and a few makers limped along until the World Wars revived their trade. Then as World War II ended, the demand disappeared. If gunmaking were to survive in this Italian valley, the craftsmen there would have to find a way to reinvent their trade.

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