In 2026, Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta will celebrate its 500th anniversary. In fact, it is the oldest manufacturing company in the world: for as many as 16 generations it has represented the Made-in-Italy and is the driving force behind Gardone Val Trompia. In these five hundred years of history skilled metal-working craftsmen have manufactured products for everyday use, but also rare gems such as those being presented in a new form: the Pietro Beretta Selection.
For decades, Beretta has been building unique and inimitable pieces of art as only Italian products can be: uncompromising fabrication quality goes hand in hand with the beauty of manual workmanship. A heritage that's been handed down for centuries and generates iconic artifacts appreciated and recognized worldwide. This is the essence of PB Selection, the pinnacle of craftsmanship excellence whose history began in 1526.
Pietro Beretta Selection: high-level storytelling for exclusive artifacts
With PB Selection artifacts, steel and wood find a new dimension and rise to a rank of unprecedented nobility thanks to the exploration of fine cinematographic art as a narrative driving force. It was an exciting and uncommon challenge to connect people, colors, movements and sounds of metal craftsmanship with the concepts of exclusivity and luxury. Beretta relied on an Italian director who is a master at bringing a story to life: Andrea Marini, an established camera talent who, thanks to his sensitivity, knows how to transform every moment, every single gesture, into a high-level story. For Pietro Beretta Selection he has made two films, the first of which has already been released – you can see it below.
"The first thing we wanted to avoid was to shoot an institutional film from the factory," explains Marini, "Instead, we found a synthesis that would take us inside the world of the PB Selection and therefore inside the world of art and luxury. The film produced is divided into two interlinked acts which are independent in telling the story of Beretta heritage and modernity coexisting.”
The films: Genesis and Legacy
Chapter 1 – Genesis. A dreamlike state is the key in this work which highlights Beretta's extraordinary heritage and explores the brand's link with the art of hunting through evocative images and symbols. Beretta's roots in the Italian Renaissance are explored, recalled by a sophisticated and elegant atmosphere, with strong historical references always updated by contemporary and visionary choices. The relationship between human and nature is central, undefined and equal, shown in a subtle and unconventional way, in a metaphor that describes human evolution from prey to predator.
Chapter 2 – Legacy. Beretta's centuries-old approach to craftsmanship and technological innovation is shown in sophisticated visual language. The film focuses on Beretta's technical excellence, enters the world of the brand revealing its exceptional production capacity, and documents the stages of making a luxury firearm by mixing layers of time – past, present, and future – highlighting the coexistence of tradition and innovation: the essence of Beretta and thus PB Selection. Since 1526. A curiosity: the characters portrayed in the film are not actors, but are all employees of the company.
The vision: from Beretta's roots to its future
"During my first experiences in the company, my great-uncle, then President, suggested that I visit the bespoke manufacturing department, because he believed that that level of craftsmanship would disappear with that last generation of gunsmiths," explains Franco Gussalli Beretta, President and Ceo of Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta. "I am proud to say today that, thanks to my father's vision and my brother's and my own commitment, we have been able to maintain and develop within the company the knowledge, skills and mentality to maintain luxury production at the highest level in the industry, integrating and enhancing it with the contribution of research and development and state-of-the-art technology that the Beretta brand embodies. This would not have been possible if in Val Trompia we had not found fertile ground full of many women and men willing to learn the trades of tradition." Regarding the project, he says, "The PB Selection tells of our roots, it talks of our future. It is the synthesis of all the small daily gestures of our most skilled craftsmen and the centuries of experience gained in the field of fine weapons. In this corner of the Val Trompia we see the dreams of so many passionate people come true, who with their ideas allow us to show off our brand's distinctive creativity and craftsmanship, fused with the highest technology applied to the processing and treatment of materials. Each piece – concludes the President – encapsulates our heritage, like a manifesto that has the potential to reach every corner of the world."
The know-how of PB Selection high-end artifacts communicates a clear concept of the world of art and therefore of luxury. "When I see one of our top-of-the-range guns," says Carlo Gussalli Beretta, the company's 16th generation who is actively involved in the company, "I also see a work of art, and in this project we try to make the world understand what I see.”
The PB Selection project was not only about making the two-part film, but also involved the deep and meticulous work of “creating” a brand. "We are approaching Beretta's 500-year history and want to show the world our ability to make timeless products. We believe that this is the right and modern way to communicate our presence in the world of luxury by widening the communication of PB Selection to different stakeholders ,embracing the new. A synthesis work for the new visual identity has also resulted in a volume-catalogue and a wide-ranging digital project thanks to a new website pietroberetta.com associated with a punctual and refined presence on social media channels," says Luca Degl'Innocenti, Communication Manager of Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta and the PB Selection project.
"We show a luxury approach that expresses itself through a creative language that is coherent in each of its artifacts," explains Paola Manfrin, the project's creative director. "All while maintaining the codes proper to luxury within the artistic and cultural expression of the Renaissance up to our contemporary times.”
What "Pietro Beretta Selection" is
The PB Selection's hunting, shooting shotguns and pistols are unique and customized specimens, through gestures that are passed on through the centuries. Goods that represent an unconventional luxury as they reflect the taste and desires of a single customer. Just like a work of art conceived for a single Maecenas. Five hundred years of perfecting our approach of zero tolerance to assure the perfect fitting of every single firearm. Beretta's industrial experience and constant innovation guarantee the performance at the highest level thanks to the high quality standards and reliability.
"Pietro Beretta Selection" is aimed at an audience that understands the value of an art object, but can also appreciate the technology of a state-of-the-art product.
For Beretta, stylistic and raw materials are blended in a platform of innovation and technological surpassing and spanning five centuries. The years only enhance the absolute quality of a gun, creating what at Beretta they call Timeless Perfection. Adding further value to the artifact are the cases: precious cases for such masterpieces, whose high craftsmanship – which takes place in an Atelier next to the assembly line of the luxury guns – represents the further distinguishing feature of the PB Selection.
Beretta: the link with history and the territory
The art of hunting is among the oldest existing forms of expression in the world, an activity practiced by mankind since the dawn of its history and that has evolved, perfected and transformed over time. It has been described, codified and celebrated by illustrious writers, intellectuals, artists and novelists. Enlightened minds, monarchs and influential people, for whom hunting, as far back as the classical age, became a metaphor for life and thought. In the 16th century, firearms, chiseled like jewellery, were inspired by natural archetypes and expressions of ornamental and symbolic refinement of the Renaissance period.
The context is nestled in Val Trompia, the famous "iron road" that lies at the foot of the Alps north of Brescia, Italy. Cutting through it and energizing it yesterday and still today is the incessant flow of the Mella River. The Beretta family, now in its sixteenth generation, is the oldest manufacturing dynasty in the world. The Val Trompia and its people have been a territory bent on a common project for five hundred years. A district of excellence that immediately specialized in something totally innovative and modern and marked its evolution. A dynamic that continues to this day in the exclusive arms of PB Selection.
Beretta 486 Copernico: a tribute to a genius of thought
A special version of the 486 side-by-side celebrating the 550th anniversary of the birth of Nicholas Copernicus (Niccolò Copernico, in Italian) was presented at the event. Astronomer, mathematician, clergyman, jurist, ruler, and physician, Copernicus not only demonstrated the evidence for the heliocentric system as opposed to the geocentric one, but also initiated a cultural revolution that no longer sees man as the center of the universe, but identifies him as a small piece of a much larger ecosystem, of a mechanism that moves ceaselessly. Despite us.
To celebrate the work and cultural impact of Nicholas Copernicus 550 years after his birth, Beretta is dedicating its annual 2023 one-off to heliocentric theory and the observation of the universe with a unique piece based on the famous Beretta 486 Parallelo side-by-side with serpentine-shaped opening lever. The 12-gauge shotgun, unveiled as a world premiere during an event celebrating the luxury of the Pietro Beretta Selection, is a testament to the desire to push the boundaries of innovation and craftsmanship: 800 hours of work by master artisans in Gardone Val Trompia, added to months of study by the R&D, Design and Marketing departments.
"Nicholas Copernicus said, 'The wisdom of nature avoids producing anything superfluous or useless'. This is our spirit, because we are part of nature and, in our small way, like nature we want to act: PB Selection is a luxury that does not create superfluous and useless, but produces innovation and inspiration, in technology as well as in beauty. A perfect synthesis of this spirit is the 486 Copernico," said Carlo Ferlito, General Manager and CEO at Pietro Beretta S.p.A.
The typical round-body receiver and forend iron of the 486 feature a color case hardened finish with hues ranging from blue to green and red, reminiscent of space environment and light trails.
Beretta's master engravers have included celestial bodies in this frame: the sun, planets and asteroids take on color thanks to enamels. For the first time, the engravings also extend to the stock with small stars inlaid in copper and silver to create continuity with the receiver and forend. The connecting lines of the 486's stock and receiver give unsurpassed harmony and elegance to the shotgun's proportions.
Also on the receiver's top we find the silver and gold engraving of Niccolo Copernicus' signature. Completing the picture, the anniversary years on the trigger guard, which frames a leaf-sprung trigger assembly equipped with a typical Beretta 486 safety: it acts on the trigger and prevents any unintended discharge should the gun be held in unusual positions (fully upside down or pointed upward/downward beyond 90°), should it fall or should it be bumped. The serpentine-shaped side opening lever has also been modified with a small groove in the center, where a small enameled stone reminiscent of the moon has been added.
The English-style stock and forend are black ebony, machined internally to ensure perfect gun balance, and are finished with more than 100 coats of Tru-Oil mixed with a few drops of dark blue dye to give the wood the midnight blue hue that matches the theme of the receiver.
The 76-cm Steelium Optimabore HP barrels with Optimachoke HP chokes carry Beretta's 500-year history as a barrel manufacturer with them. Unique triple-alloyed steel, deep drilling, cold hammer forging and vacuum distension give the 486 Copernico's barrels excellent pattern performance, with reduced recoil and muzzle climb.
As with every PB Selection product, the barrels are hand-polished and then blued.
The Beretta Triblock system has been designed for Beretta side-by-side shotguns and eliminates the need for prominent weld lines, ensuring superior aesthetics and elegance that reflect the style of the classic, highly prized shotguns with demibloc construction. Lugs and bedding are from a single block of the finest steel, laser-welded to the barrels: the aesthetic appearance is at the level of the best achievements with perfectly seamless barrels thanks to the absence of welding lines. The unquestionable aesthetic value of the uninterrupted barrel's lines also facilitates instinctive aiming.
The case, handcrafted in Beretta's prestigious Atelier, completes the masterpiece: blue leather with a digital print of the celestial map drawn by Copernicus, enhanced in the center by a three-dimensional brass plaque depicting the sun, laser made and then hand-finished for greater ray definition.
A light sand-colored fabric was chosen for the interior upholstery, contrasting with the dark shotgun tones.
"In 2019 the dedication was to Leonardo da Vinci, in 2020 to Winged Victory, in 2021 to Dante Alighieri, and in 2022 to the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb," says Franco Gussalli Beretta, president and CEO at Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A.. “This year's tribute to a man who spent his life with his eyes on the sky but whose knowledge, as in our case, is rooted into the Italian Renaissance, which has always been a reference for the world of science and knowledge: in fact, Copernicus graduated in Canon Law from the University of Ferrara in 1503. His discoveries about the heliocentric system taught us that we are not the center of the universe and, therefore, we must strive not to act selfishly, but to facilitate the continuous movement of nature, which has been feeding itself for millions of years. Hunting that supports a sustainable resource supply system does the same, and Beretta also does it with BEPlanet projects with the goal of reducing the impact of the company's activities on the environment.