Graceful speedboats gliding on the Italian lakes by Joe Bell

6 December 2009

If you cast your mind back to the films of the 50’s and 60’s with the likes of Brigit Bardot, Price Rainier of Monaco, Sean Connery or Peter Sellers in somewhere like St Tropez or on an Italian lake gliding past gracefully in a speed boat with beautiful elegant lines with effortless ease, that was probably your first introduction to Riva. This and holidays in the Italian lakes was where I first came across them.

Today celebrities, well known businessmen, entrepreneurs and the international jet-set are still unable to resist the glamour of a Riva. Riva’s reputation in sports yachts is underlined by the association with Ferrari on one of their models.

Riva has a long tradition of boat building dating back to the 1840’s in Sarnico on Lago d’Iseo in northern Italy – the same location where the Riva yard can be found to this day. Initially building craft for fishing and trade on the Italian lakes, this developed during the late 19th century into building passenger craft to cater for the embryonic tourist business taking groups to an island on the lake.

It was in the 1950’s that designs that we are familiar with today started to become a worldwide symbol of quality, elegance, speed and status. Fusing design and tradition with performance and function is what has kept Riva at the forefront of this most competitive market.

Bringing us up to today, Riva boats have a long heritage of design and quality and as they say, their aim today is to put that together with the best in materials, design and style. Mauro Micheli of Officina Italiana Design from whose drawing board the current Riva yachts have come is aware of the challenges that this places on him. "It means working at the highest quality standards, in terms of both labour and materials that Riva use, and with the highest expectations from a sector in continuous development and from a traditionally exigent and careful clientele."

Officina Italiana Design has signed all the projects in production at present: from Aquariva, 33' to 115' Athena yacht that represents today the Fleet’s Flagship, to Rivarama, the 44' that for two consecutive years has won the award for Best European Open between 40' to 60', to the Rivale, 52' that has become one of the most successful yachts at an international level.

The newest addition to the fleet, to be launched at the Cannes Boat Show in September 2009, is the 86’ (26 metre) Domino sports yacht. Billed as the evolution of the successful Vertigo and Ego Super, the Domino will be able to cruise at 34 knots in style and comfort.

It seems likely that the rich and famous will continue to beat a path to Riva’s door.


Riva’s London representative:

Ventura UK Limited, 12 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London W1J 5HL Tel +44 (0)20 7647 9000 Fax +44 (0)20 7647 9009, E-mail: 



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