Riva’s fiberglass flagship, the 110 Dolcevita, brings both in spades.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what the beholder is supposedly looking for is facial symmetry. So says science, or at least the kind of science that tabloid news editors like to quote. A glance at the latest crop of yachts from the European yards suggests that their designers wholly subscribe to this view.

The 110 exhibits classic Riva DNA.

The 110 exhibits classic Riva DNA.

The Riva 110 Dolcevita is different. It is a notably handsome creature, with beautifully considered proportions and a profile carefully sculpted to disguise its substantial height. Inside, the yacht feels much bigger than it is, and outside, it looks much smaller. With its lustrous paint, subtle curves and clever window geometry, it appears pleasing from every angle.

The salon looks big for the yacht’s length overall, thanks to generous glazing and slender, steel-cored pillars. 

The salon looks big for the yacht’s length overall, thanks to generous glazing and slender, steel-cored pillars. 

And yet, there is an attractive asymmetry to the deck layout. Cunningly disguised, this asymmetry is an ingenious exercise in visual sleight of hand. It is best appreciated from the foredeck seating area, which, of course, isn’t on the foredeck at all, but instead on the coach roof atop the master stateroom. With just one step up, the side deck that trails aft from this space along the port side attains the level of the flybridge, where a side door provides access to the sundeck. Voilà—easy access along the full length of this upper level for guests and crew alike.

The Dolcevita’s asymmetry means that guests on the aft deck are just a level stroll away from the foredeck seating.

The Dolcevita’s asymmetry means that guests on the aft deck are just a level stroll away from the foredeck seating.

A view of the master stateroom, amidships.

A view of the master stateroom, amidships.

On the starboard side, meanwhile, normal service is resumed as the side-deck runs aft to steps that lead down to the main deck. Here, a door leads inside toward the galley, wheelhouse or salon, or guests can keep walking until they are in the cockpit. The asymmetrical layout provides great practicality, especially for the crew, but unless you’re on board the yacht, it is virtually invisible.

That can’t be said of many of the Dolcevita’s other attributes. This yacht is a visual feast of luxurious detailing, fittings and finishes. It is a tactile feast, as well. There are the signature Riva door handles, the flush framing in polished stainless steel, and the stitched leather, not to mention a significant tonnage of high-quality marble in all the bathrooms.

Also on display are new angles on accomplishing simple tasks. For instance, it takes a few seconds to figure out how the closets open. Tall and inscrutable, they offer neither handles nor clues. I won’t spoil the fun, but it’s good to see that it’s not just shower designers who love to reinvent the latch.

The four guest staterooms on the lower deck have generous headroom (6 feet, 5 inches) and full-size beds. Daylight floods in through the hull windows. On the main deck, the master stateroom is reached via a port-side corridor, past the walk-in closet and a row of stowage. The king-size bed is amid reflective bulkheads and sizable windows.

The long superstructure overhang effectively shelters the cockpit.

The long superstructure overhang effectively shelters the cockpit.

Reflective surfaces and floor-to-deckhead glazing make the main deck a spectacular sight.

Reflective surfaces and floor-to-deckhead glazing make the main deck a spectacular sight.

The deck salon’s glazing also lets in substantial light, while high-gloss deckhead lacquer augments the glazing’s height. The secret to this space is structural: A steel frame with carbon-fiber elements supports the upper deck on light, stiff, thin pillars that maximize the salon’s window area. The result is a space that looks more like a Mies van der Rohe apartment than a yacht.

Of course, the 110 Dolcevita is a yacht, and it’s a Riva. It might be viewed as a luxury brand, but Riva has never forgotten its heritage as a builder of raceboats. Every modern Riva has to acknowledge that debt. Even the big ones need to perform.

A glance into the engine room reveals headroom that is nearly 7 feet, and the flat-mounted MTU V-16s sit in a bright, white, shadowless chamber that is more like an art gallery than a place of heat and combustion. Amassing more than 5,200 horsepower between them, Friedrichshafen’s finest get the 110 to 20 knots in just 15 seconds, and propel the yacht to a top speed of nearly 27 knots—with a fuel and water load of more than 7 tons, and with the Williams Dieseljet 505 tender in its garage.

Throttling back to 2150 rpm allows a quiet cruising speed of 22 to 23 knots. According to the builder, at this pace, at half-load, the Dolcevita would have a range of more than 430 nautical miles.

This yacht is a visual feast of luxurious detailing, fittings and finishes. It is a tactile feast, as well. There are the signature Riva door handles, the flush framing in polished stainless steel, and the stitched leather, not to mention a significant tonnage of high-quality marble in all the bathrooms.

Riva’s fiberglass flagship is far more than an ineffably stylish piece of floating architecture. It is also a yacht with considerable performance capabilities. Not only does it perform both roles well, but it also looks fabulous—even if it does so while being slightly, secretly, asymmetrical.

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Riva 110 Dolcevita

LOA: 110ft. (33.53m) / LWL: 92ft. 9in. (28.28m) / BEAM: 23ft. 10in. (7.27m) / DRAFT: 6ft. 6in. (1.99m) / CONSTRUCTION: GRP / DISPLACEMENT (light): 273,373 lb. / ENGINES: 2 x 2,638-hp MTU 16V M96L / FUEL: 4,042 gal. (15,300L) / WATER: 793 gal. (3,000L) / SPEED (max/cruise): 26.8 knots/23 knots / STABILIZERS: ABT-Trac  / EXTERIOR DESIGN: Officina Italiana Design/Ferretti Group / INTERIOR DESIGN: Ferretti Group / GUESTS: 10 in 5 staterooms / CREW: 5 in 3 cabins / BUILDER: Riva Yachts

For more information: riva-yacht.com

Gallery

Have a closer look at the Riva 110 Docevita in the gallery below:

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