Stefano Zanotti and his son Fabio are the living 11th and 12th generations of the oldest shotgun maker family of the world.
This declaration fears no argument: Beretta, considered to be the oldest name in the gun industry ever, has over five centuries of fame, but was making barrels only for over three hundred years, starting to manufcture finished shotguns only about two centuries ago. On the contrary, the Zanotti family from Santa Maria in Fabriago, near Bologna in central Italy, will accomplish four hundred years of shotgun manufacturing during the next decade. This is certainly an archievement, considering how even the most famous brands and names in the world’s gun industry have been changing hands and even closing down for good on many occasions: Colt, Smith&Wesson, Purdey, Holland&Holland are all names which do not belong to the original families anymore since decades or even centuries. But Stefano, and like him his father Fabio and countless Zanotti armourers before them have been doing before him in the family, has endured and strived to keep making ten or twelve unique shotguns per calendar year, addressing the most exclusive clientele in Europe and America. And whoever has the patience and fortune to be on Stefano’s official family “Book of Orders and Deliveries”, which is the same one piece of old paper and canvas since two centuries ago, becomes a lifetime Zanotti addicted. Like for instance Fidel Castro himself, one of the many famous owners and users of Stefano Zanotti’s unparallelled shotguns: until recently, the ruler of Cuba has been seen daily outing his old Zanotti over and under Modello 648, now appropriatley named “Fidel”, for intensive caribbean pigeon hunting. Giacinto, Tomaso, Fabio and Stefano Zanotti, the four great gun makers of the family during the entire past century, have most unquestionably designed and refined true masterpieces: the Model 34 and the Edward, both winners of gold medals at the most famed European expositions, come as two sidelocks bearing an equal number of world patents.