2021 was a year dedicated to Durante Alighieri, universally known as Dante. There were numerous initiatives, all of the highest level, to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the death of the great poet, considered the father of the Italian language.
Beretta too wanted to take part in the Dante celebrations by presenting the unique and special version of theSL3 Dante Alighieri luxury over-and-under .
The Italian company created the Dante, a special 20 gauge SL3 over-and-under with 30”/76 cm barrels, which ideally continues the one-off series based on that platform.
A team of four engravers, headed by Luca Casari, made the engravings inspired by some of the most significant verses of the Divine Comedy to decorate this shotgun.
Video: introducing the Beretta SL3 Dante Alighieri
Beretta SL3 Dante: a unique gun to celebrate Dante Alighieri
The Beretta SL3 Dante over-and-under features hand-polished barrels and a class 5 fine walnut stock. This unique and unrepeatable piece required over 700 hours of work to be completely hand engraved. The outer profiles of the various surfaces feature English scroll engravings, completed by golden inlays of flowers and buds. The engravers then used hammer and burin to shape different precious metals (yellow and green gold, copper) and to create further inlays. The barrel monoblock was also engraved by hand – in fact, it bears the name of the Supreme Poet in gold – as well as the opening lever, which shows a pierced design in the shape of the quill with which Dante is typically portrayed. A leather case, specially handmade, and a dedicated serial number complete this unique work of art.
To make the decorations on the receiver unique, yellow gold, green gold and copper were used for the colored details, plus enamel to add touches of color on the receiver bottom. The sentences under the side plates quote three canticles from the Divine Comedy and are: "Guai a voi, anime prave" (Inferno, III, right side); "Del vivere ch'è un correre alla morte" (Purgatorio, XXXIII, left side); and finally "L'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle" (Paradiso, XXXIII, receiver bottom).
On the opening lever, in gold, is the quill used by Dante to write the Poem. Underneath the lever, we find the gold inlaid serial number "DAN700A". On the trigger guard, the dates of the anniversary "1321-2021" are written in gold. In order to achieve this engraving, the whole repertoire of classical techniques was used: chisel and hammer, burin, gold inlays plus enamels. Four Beretta engravers collaborated in the creation of this masterpiece: Dario Zanetti, Simona Toresani, Stefania Bettazza and Dario Candito, coordinated by Maestro Luca Casari, for a total of 700 hours of highly qualified work over a period of 4 months.
Particular attention has also been paid to the stock, for which grade 5 select walnut wood has been used, finely hand finished with True-Oil and hand checkered by the expert master gunsmiths of the Beretta 2 workshop.
The barrels feature a highly polished bluing. The particular shine is obtained by hand on the semi-finished barrel. The finish was applied, from the monoblock to the muzzle, after the surface treatment using a special polishing cloth that required more than ten hours of work carried out exclusively by hand. Dante Alighieri's signature, on the monoblock, was gold inlaid by the skillful hands of Master Engraver Luca Casari.
The utmost care was also taken by the Custom Gun Case Atelier for the highly tailored classy case. It was crafted using top-grade burgundy leather for the outer surfaces and soft flocked velvet for the interior, which is further embellished with a starry sky (the stars were hand-embroidered with gold thread) and the handwritten inscription on leather "E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle". The corner pieces are gold-plated brass.
“Beretta is a company that, although active in an international context, has its strong point in its Italian DNA," explains Franco Gussalli Beretta, president of Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta. "And as proud representatives of Italian culture, we could not fail to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri. We did so in the only way we are capable of: by creating a timeless work, which in an absolutely exclusive way, celebrates the beauty of the Divine Comedy. In the year in which we will all surely remember our country's ability to leave a mark, we are proud once again to make our contribution offering a gun that boasts no comparison in beauty and attention to detail."
"Carrying out projects of this level enhances the craftsmanship skills of our working group,” explains Carlo Ferlito, General Manager Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta. “The SL3 Dante follows two other projects of extreme value. In 2019, we celebrated the passage of Leonardo da Vinci in Gardone with a splendid pair of guns, and in 2020, SL3 Vittoria Alata told the return of the magnificent Roman Bronze statue, already a symbol of our company, to the Brescia Civic Museums. They are firearms, but above all they are journeys in time and in the history of Italy and of Beretta, and they clearly have the goal of providing lucky buyers with a new dimension of Customer Journey: those who purchase them, do not only purchase an object, but above all a work of art and even more the piece of history that they safeguard. Lucky them!"
Beretta SL3 over-and-under features
The SL3 over-and-under chosen for the special version dedicated to the great Italian poet represents the synthesis of the best technologies available today in the various platforms and is hand-made by Beretta's most skilled gunsmiths in the Premium Gun Atelier of Gardone Val Trompia, Italy.
The Beretta SL3 features a receiver with a smooth and rounded design that emphasizes the flowing profile of the gun, enhancing its appearance and improving target acquisition. The new and unique shape of the opening lever has been shaped to match the elegant lines of the top of the receiver. The tail end of the receiver is tapered. The exclusive locking system with three separate locking points increases the rigidity and robustness of the platform, and keeps the opening and closing of the gun smooth and effortless over time, regardless of use (during validation, the SL3 fired more than 11,500 Magnum cartridges with no issues). The trigger is fast and crisp thanks to the hammer leaf spring as used in the most successful Beretta competition shotguns, while the ejectors of the most modern conception are even more reliable and easy to inspect and clean.
The SL3 over-and-under is equipped with Optima Bore HP barrels. With Steelium technology that uses the exclusive Beretta tri-alloy steel (Ni, Cr, Mo), deep drilling, cold hammer forging and vacuum distension. The internal profile of the OptimaBore HP barrels has been specifically designed to provide excellent patterns with all types of shot, from lead and steel to other alternatives on the market.
With the special model of the SL3 dedicated to Dante Alighieri, Beretta adds another gem to its collection of unique pieces, celebrating an Italian genius with the best of national gunsmithing.
To learn more please visit beretta.com.