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Blog / From a fishing boat to the luxury of VIPs aboard Aquarama


From a fishing boat to the luxury of VIPs aboard Aquarama

The historic Riva motorboat shipyard is one of the most representative examples of Made in Italy excellence in the nautical field.

Born from an entrepreneurial adventure that originated in 1852 in Sarnico, on the western shore of Lake Iseo, by master shipwright Pietro Riva who founded this dynasty of boat builders, today a true myth of Italian boating.

What is the element that underlies the myth of Riva Aquarama? Certainly the passion and culture of Italian craftsmanship in the realization of the project itself.

The shipyard, originally, dealt with the repair and construction of work boats in dialect called “batel de pesca” and pleasure boats, or better known as “canotto da passeggio”, typical of the lake area.

Pietro’s son, Ernesto, sensed that the engine would be the future of pleasure boating and began to build boats of increasingly larger dimensions. His first steam boat – with which he proposed the first tourist excursions on the lake – will be called Sarnico, in honor of the country of origin.

At the end of the Great War, Serafino Riva directed the shipyard towards the production of high-performance wooden hulls for motorboat competitions, which were in their infancy at the time, and his boats were able to win prestigious trophies. One example is the Riva Racer, a boat in Romano Bellini’s collection of vintage Riva boats, used for the Pavia-Venice raid.

In the 1940s Serafino is joined by his young son Carlo, a future pioneer of motor yachting, who departs from his father’s design philosophy.

He, driven by a boundless passion for boats and the work of the shipyard, has very clear ideas: only a serial and highly qualified production will allow him to realize his dream, that is to make the name Riva synonymous with luxury yachts, inventing, renewing, enlarging even at the cost of risking everything.

At the height of the Italian economic boom, Carlo Riva creates a series of elegant and refined wooden boats with an unmistakable style, true works of art in which construction excellence is combined with maniacal attention to detail; luxury motorboats that soon become legendary.

In this regard, Riva Aquarama was created in 1962.
The name Aquarama is inspired by the “cinerama”, in vogue in those years, in fact, the wraparound windshield of Riva Aquarama offers a panoramic view of the water reminiscent of the great American experimental cinema screens.
The presentation slogan punctuates the key words: “Sun, sea, joie de vivre!”

The glamorous image of Riva Aquarama was mainly given by movie stars, big industrialists and royal families.
These include the wonderful Sophia Loren who moored in Santa Margherita Ligure aboard her Aquarama.


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