Just south of the Alps along the banks of the Mella River in Italy’s Brescia Province you’ll find the newly-remodeled Fausti factory and showroom. It sits tucked between the curving highway that leads north to Switzerland and the Mella River, which winds south through the trees toward the historic city of Brescia. The only sounds are the occasional passing car and the constant gurgle of the cold Alpine water rushing over rocks, but inside the glass walls of the Fausti building you’ll find a beehive of activity; steel is being moved and fed into state-of-the-art CNC machines, engineers are working on drawings of new firearms and parts, Santina Messi is answering one phone call after another, and engravers are carving steel sideplates with hand tools. There are orders being shipped, orders being received, guns being assembled, stocks being hand-finished, and at the center of all of this is Giovanna Fausti.
Unlike some gun company owners that are hidden away in a corporate office far from the action Giovanna Fausti—as well as her sisters Barbara and Elena—are constantly part of the production process. They know what’s going well, what needs improved, and they’re always working to help their namesake brand secure an even larger portion of the Italian fine gun market. Here’s a look at the sisters Fausti and the gun company they helped turn into a global firearm phenomenon.
1. Fausti Firearms Are Built in the “Valley of the Gun” Brescia lies in the Trompia Valley, better known as Val Trompia, in what is referred to as Italy’s “Valley of the Gun.” Dating back to the 1500’s the region, with its rich iron ore deposits and many forges along the river, was known for producing the finest barrels for European firearms. So important was the Brescia Region to northern Italy’s economy that the province of Venice tried to annex Brescia—only to find out that the Brescians had the ability to make guns quickly and had the skills to use those guns quite effectively. The Venetians wisely relented and Brescia remained its own province.
2. Fausti is the Only Gun Manufacturer Run By Sisters The Fausti Sisters took over operations from their father in the 1990’s and in doing so Giovanna, Barbara and Elena became the first sisters to own and operate a major firearms company. This has made the Fausti sisters an important voice for the growing number of female shooters in the United States and abroad. In 2015 the company offered their first shotgun designed exclusively for female shooters—the Aphrodite—which is even more beautiful than the name implies.
3. The Fausti Sisters Take Marketing to the Next Level The Fausti Sisters bring a level of energy and enthusiasm to the shotgun market that isn’t seen elsewhere, and they’re their own best marketing team. All three of the sisters travel around the globe to game fairs and shows to promote their brand and meet with clients, from Russia to North America to Europe and the Middle East. All three speak multiple languages as well so they can communicate more effectively with customers from every corner of the world.
4. The New Fausti Facility Combines History and Modern Machining in a Unique Way The Fausti facility in Brescia was recently revamped with a primary space that is split into two halves. On the south side you’ll find the engineering team and the CNC machines that make precision cuts in steel for the tightest tolerances possible. On the other side of the factory you’ll find the stock makers and the engravers who spend hours finishing each gun in a manner no machine can replicate. The offices and showroom are located above the factory floor so visitors can see both processes at once.
5. You Can Have a Fausti Gun Built Any Way You’d Like Fausti has two gun lines--standard production guns (known as the Core line) are stylish yet affordable while the Boutique line of guns are completely customizable to buyer specifications. Do you have a photo of your wife, husband, kids or favorite hunting dog that you would like to see carved into the action of your shotgun? Simply email a photo when your order your Boutique gun from Italy and the Brescian engravers will customize a firearm that has your favorite image honed in the metal. It isn’t a cheap option but you’ll enjoy a level of personalization you can’t get on most any other firearm.
6. Each Custom Gun Has About 700 Hours of Hand Engraving That’s right. 700 hours of work go into every custom Boutique gun that ships from the Fausti factory. The work is done with a tiny bulin, the archetypal hand tool of the Italian engraver, and it takes months and months to create the masterpieces in metal that Fausti is churning out on a regular basis. In addition, the artisan signs their name into the metalwork of your gun when they are finished like an artist signing a portrait.
7. The Line-Topping Senator Sidelock Starts at $70,000 The field-grade Caledon over/under will run you a couple grand, but the piece de resistance of the Fausti line is the Senator, which has detachable sidelocks and inner workings that resemble a fine Swiss timepiece. Every component of the gun is precision machined and hand polished for an ultra-tight, ultra-smooth fit after assembly. The base gun will cost you 70 grand, which may seem high until you consider the time and precision engineering involved in making this gun and the price of other ultra-high-end firearms. After that the smooth exterior metalwork begs to be engraved—now where’s that old photo from college?
8. The Fausti Sisters Are Avid Shooters and Hunters I had an opportunity to accompany Barbara and Giovanna Fausti to one of Italy’s largest shooting complexes for a day of skeet and trap shooting and tagged along on a hunt at La Centuriona Gavi castle where the two sisters, armed with their .410 side-by-sides, made short work of birds of feather and clay. Part of their success as shooters is the fact that they have guns that are custom fit—a service they offer to all customers at their Fausti USA facility and at shows like the annual NRA Meetings.
9. You May Already Own a Fausti Gun Fausti has manufactured guns for other companies, but perhaps the best known collaboration was with the Weatherby Family for the Weatherby D’Italia line of shotguns. These side-by-sides and over/unders combined Weatherby’s characteristic flash with Italian styling to create a gun that was truly magnificent. The Weatherby/Fausti guns are still available on the used gun market and make an eye-catching addition to your scattergun collection.
10. Fausti Arranges Italian Vacations Centered Around Firearms Interested in seeing Italy and purchasing a Fausti firearm? Fausti USA is now helping arrange Italian vacations for customers. You can visit the Fausti facility and order your firearm and then tour the local vineyards, stay in historic castles, play golf, walk the shores of nearby Lake Iseo and Lake Garda (two of the most beautiful locations not just in Italy but the world) tour the Mille Miglia automobile museum and even hunt on nearby estates.
Looking for past installments of our "10 Things You Didn't Know" series? Hit the links below!