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  From mahogany to fibreglass
From 33’ to 115’ of seduction
From mahogany to fibreglass
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The world-famous firm, over 160 years on the crest of a wave.

The history of the Riva boatyard began in 1842 on Lake Iseo in Sarnico (Bergamo) with Pietro Riva, a carpenter who had moved there from Lake Como. It continued with Ernesto, followed by Serafino, who loved racing, and lastly Carlo, who created a style that made a name for itself all over the world as a synonym for elegance and impeccable taste. Riva’s story is one of pure Italian style, a history of pleasure boating. Ernesto introduced the internal combustion engine in 1880 and with his son Serafino’s passion for racing, performance became a distinctive feature of all Riva yachts.

During the 30s, Sarnico was one of the most active boatyards on the international motor boating scene. Influenced by the first competitions held, on May 1, 1912 Serafino reached a speed of 24km/h in a racing yacht during an international race – a feat achieved for the very first time. Motor yacht competitions began to enjoy huge success, giving rise to the holding of important international events all over the country. Serafino Riva won one of the most famous, the Pavia-Venice, two years running, in 1931 and 1932, establishing the record of the period by racing at a speed of 52km/h. 

Reconstruction of Italy was in full swing and bridges, motorways and towns were being built all over the country. Society was going through an industrial revolution and the automobile became a rising star. Carlo Riva created an alter ego for this star, namely a range of wooden yachts featuring an unmistakable design. The line, interiors, steering wheel, dashboard and driving position of the Ariston, the first example of what would develop into several generations of motorboats, made it the very first luxurious water "automobile". This brought a new, all-Italian dimension to an important period of the year, the holidays, and Riva yachts became inviting, smart, sensual, vain.

In 1969, when the first fibreglass yacht appeared, the lovers of tradition were horrified. The farsighted Riva boatyard, however, knew how to innovate while still respecting tradition. Indeed, Carlo Riva’s last contribution to a Riva which was no longer really his own, was to ennoble and enrich the yacht by “combining cold plastic with a touch of warm wood”, creating a happy union between mahogany and fibreglass.

After various passages, in May 2000 Riva joined the Ferretti Group, one of the world leaders in luxury yachting, heralding the onset of a new period of development and innovation. The Ferretti Group, led by President Norberto Ferretti, currently encompasses Ferretti Yachts, Pershing, Riva, Itama, Bertram, Apreamare, Mochi Craft, CRN e Custom Line. Since joining the Group, Riva has developed a portfolio of 10 models ranging from 30-115ft (10-35m).

Headed by its CEO Ferrucio Rossi since 2006, Riva continues to be synonymous all over the world with style, beauty, innovation, design and quality. The study of new models, featuring unique designs and top quality in all aspects, is entrusted to Mauro Micheli and his Officina Italian Design. Riva fully expresses what Italian creativity and industriousness are capable of producing for the joy, pleasure and wonder of all those who love the sea and luxury.

In 2005, the Sarnico boatyard opened its gates to the general public for the very first time after more than 160 uninterrupted years of history – the doors to the Factory of Dreams were finally open.


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