For those who have the means to own one, a Riva Yacht is a symbol of luxury, elegance and expert craftsmanship. These yachts have captured the hearts of many A-list celebrities who appreciate the refined Italian style on display each time they take to the open sea. But there is a whole history behind Riva Yachts, which explains how this brand started and inevitably became the most well-known yacht company in the world.
The company was founded in 1842 by Pietro Riva, a man who took ambition and mixed it with a pure happenstance to begin the business. The year that Riva was launched was the same year that a massive storm hit Lake d’Iseo in Italy. The storm caused extensive damage to the local fishing boats in the area, and Pietro, a talented ship builder and craftsman stepped in to repair nearly all of them. This helped him earn the trust and respect of the locals, as he himself had only recently moved to the town and was still considered an outsider. Thus, the legend of Riva was born.
As the business flourished, Pietro Riva’s son, Ernesto, saw the opportunities that introducing internal combustion engines on the boats could offer and believed the company could leverage these. It turns out he was right, and the family quickly broke records for number of boats sold. Serafino Riva continued this excellent work in the 1920’s and 1930’s, helping transform the company’s products into a real, recognizable brand in the realm of power boating.
In the 1950s, Carlo Riva continued to drive the company forward, helping it become known around the globe not only for offering enthralling vessels, but true style icons. This was when Riva really started building a global reputation, with each boat being of better quality and capable of better performance than the last. In the 1960s a number of celebrities owned Rivas. These included people like Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman, Anita Ekberg, and Richard Burton. It’s even rumored that Marilyn Monroe wanted one herself.
Perhaps the most iconic and popular example was the Riva Aquarama. A luxury wooden runabout, it was in production from 1962 until 1996. The hull was based on the Riva Tritone, an earlier model speedboat by Riva, and was sheathed in mahogany and varnished to accentuate the beauty of its natural wood grain. All versions produced featured twin-engines, making them extremely powerful. It’s not surprising then that the boat's speed, beauty, and craftsmanship earned it praise as the Ferrari of the boat world. On top of the engine compartment was a cushioned sundeck, perfect for sunbathing while cruising up the coast. The boats also carried a convertible roof which retracted behind the rear seat and cockpit.
This boat was pure beauty and offered something no other boat could. It was known throughout the world as being the boat that the A-list owned, something that only made the name more popular and entrenched in the style world.
Today, a Riva Yacht stands for perfection and status. The company’s slogan, “as it was yesterday, it will be forever” speaks to that relentless pursuit of perfection that still spurs Riva on today. The boats represent so much more than just a vessel. They’re decadence, they’re celebrity, they’re extravagance.
Even today, Riva pushes the envelope with new boats that make waves throughout the globe. A single yacht can cost upwards of two million dollars, and it’s a price that people are willing to pay. This boat is the epitome of style, and it means something more than any other boat out there.
Riva provides the absolute best, and that’s what people bank on. They want to know that they can do whatever they want while taking this boat out and look good doing it. Here at Roderer we are motivated by this same lofty standard set by the style icons of the world, such as Riva, and continually strive to make the best product we can without ever comprising on style.