In the beginning of June I took part in an organized tour to visit Italian Master engravers in Gardone Val Trompia valley. The whole thing was put together with Elena Michel Lamboy and Chris DeCamillis. Elena was born there in the valley and knows all the valley engravers and gunmakers, she was also our translator for the whole trip.

The trip was very-very nice and I liked it a lot. It is quite an experience to talk with best of the best engravers in the world and see their engravings in real life. Both finished and works in progress. Most of the engravers had very simple workshop, for some it was just large window facing north, a vise and a push graver, what they call bulino. Nothing else. Although, usually they had hammer and chisel with different gravers too. Of all the places we visited, I saw only one engraver using microscope, others had Zeiss 10x jewelers loupe and only one studio, which had air assisted graver. It was Creative Art and they used it probably for background work etc, not for the main engraving. With these simple and basic tools they create just jaw dropping engravings.

I arrived at the hotel in Valtrompia valley on Sunday evening and what a view:

View from the hotel

A little overview of whole trip:

Day 1

  • Creative Art

First day, first visit and what a treat. Creative Art is an engraving studio with quite a few engravers and they do all styles of engraving – sculpting and fine bulino work. Luckily for us, there was one just recently finished gun frame in sculpting and one done with bulino.

Creative Art sculpting

Creative Art engraving

Creative Art bulino scene

Creative Art engraving

Creative Art engraving

Creative Art engraving

Creative Art engraving

Creative Art engraving

Creative Art engraving


  • Beretta Museum
Next in line was visit to Beretta Museum, which is actually not publicly open and we got to visit it, because Elena knew people there. It was located in Beretta building, where they have also factory and headquarters, so that’s probably why it’s not opened publicly. On display they had guns from the very beginning, made in 1500s and of everything in between up to modern hand- and hunting guns.

Beretta Museum panorama

Gun at Beretta Museum

  • Bottega Incisioni di Cesare Giovanelli
Next stop was engraving school and studio of Cesare Giovanelli. This is a very interesting place, because there it is possible to study engraving for free. You have to have your own place to stay etc., but school is free. I don’t know why they do this, but I’d really like to go there and study for some time. Besides school they also do all kinds of engraving starting with roll stamping, laser engraving, photo and other mechanized versions and ending with really high end hand engraving. It all depends on what customer wants and what is the budget. Their building was located in a very beautiful place on a side of a mountain with million dollar view. When I was there, they had about 10 people working at that time.

Bottega Giovanelli

Engraver working at Giovanelli’s

They had also quite a lot of engravings on display, a photo possibility not to be wasted.

Engraving at Giovanelli’s

Engraving at Giovanelli’s

  • Lionello Sabatti
Lionello Sabatti was the last engraver we visited that day. He had a very nice and cool studio at one old building. Like the other works seen that day, he was making top notch engravings, but he didn’t have anything at the time to take photos of. He also had two young apprentices learning engraving at hist studio.
All in all it was a extremely fun day with world class engraving, food and views.
Next 4 days will be covered in future posts. Watch this space.

3 thoughts on “Visiting Italian Master engravers, day 1

  1. I have a 28 ga. Zanotti that is said to be engraved by an engraver that does, or did work for Piotti. The initials are: BOE-D. Do you know of, or have any information on, who this might be?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *