The epitome of elegant yachting

Since the 1950s, Riva Yachts has been identified with cosmopolitan atmosphere and style. From Brigitte Bardot with her Florida, Anita Ekberg, who bought a Tritone where she could enjoy her personal dolce vita, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who used a Junior as a tender for their yacht, and the Shah of Persia, who fell in love with Riva 2000, to Sophia Loren and Sean Connery, who bought a Rudy.

The 1950s was the era of Carlo Riva, who had an unquenchable passion for boats and had been living the family business since he was a child. Back then, Riva had become synonymous with elegance, social status and perfection: selected materials of the highest quality, careful attention to the smallest details, unparalleled, long-standing expertise and craftsmanship. Riva creations have become a fetish for the aristocracy, great athletes, successful businessmen and film stars. Even today, those decorative boats retain the charm of the era, with paparazzi, movie stars wearing scarves and black sunglasses, love stories, images of luxury and timeless elegance.

The “ingegnere”, as Carlo Riva was known, realized the impact of the phenomenon and created a series of wooden boats with unique design features. One of these was the Ariston, which Riva says was “designed with love, born pure and strong, like a thoroughbred horse. Unforgettable! She was my master of the sea.” Next came the Tritone (the first motorboat), the Sebino (which launched the production line) and then the Florida, whose name refers to the American model that was in vogue at the time. In 1956, Riva began working with the designer and architect Giorgio Barilani. In November 1962, the legend, Aquarama, was born. Since its presentation, at the 3rd International Boat Show in Milan, Aquarama became the symbol of “Riva par excellence”, almost “a brand within a brand”. The name of the boat was inspired by the Cinerama system, the American experimental wide screens of the cinema. His slogan for the boat contained key words: “Sun, sea, joie de vivre!” The prototype was the mythical Lipicar No. 1, the evolution of the Tritone, 8.02 meters long, 2.62 meters wide, capable of accommodating up to eight people, with two bunks in the bow, two 185-horsepower chris craft gasoline engines and a speed of 73 km/h.

Going back in time to 1842, on Lake Izeo, in Sarnico, Italy, we have to “thank” the sudden storm that destroyed the boats of the local fishermen. They, seeing them, being shocked, persuaded a young shipbuilder and craftsman who had just moved from Lalio, near Como, to perform a real miracle and repair most of them, thus gaining the trust of the locals. This was the beginning of the legend of Riva and the man behind it, Pietro Riva, creator of the brand that epitomises elegant yachting. It is a brand in which the “upper hand” is not the eccentricity of past trends, but the quality and persistent attention to detail, the “touch” of glamour that highlights the balance between tradition and modernity.

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