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Riva: A Look Back

Riva is celebrating its 170-year legacy with a beautiful look back at the lives these boats have touched and the impact they've had both on the industry and the culture over that time. Below is an excerpt from the commemorative book the company released this year.

Riva is celebrating its 170-year legacy with a beautiful look back at the lives these boats have touched and the impact they've had both on the industry and the culture over that time. Below is an excerpt from the commemorative book the company released this year.

For more on the book or to order a copy, visit

For recent news and projects from the yard, click here.

Riva Mythos

Riva Mythos

It is all too easy to associate Riva with the word “legend” but far more difficult to describe the set of elements that fuel this legend. Printed on the first pages of this book are 170 words taken from testimonials, each of which may be thought of as a small brick in a large castle undergoing continuous evolution and expansion. Try and read them in order and you will see how easily you associate them emotionally and visually with Riva. On the 170th anniversary of the foundation of the Boatyard, we offer you this collection of 170 testimonials and as many photographs taken over a period of more than sixty years. We wanted to blend them chromatically so that they can be viewed one after another, without a logical sequence, without a series of dates, but relying on the chance alphabetical order of the people who were asked to recount their views, memories and feelings about Riva and its motorboats. You will find famous names of boat owners and users, you will find celebrities, but above all you will realize how deeply and in what ways this boatyard is rooted in the people involved every day in designing and building these products which many describe as true gems of the sailing world. A vast number of books have been written about Riva but not one in which voices mingle, pictures merge and colors fade away to bring out the real essence of the Riva legend. I would like to underline two things and invite you to share them with me: the first is the mutual satisfaction felt by both those who work for Riva and those who own and use one. The second is the similarity in the relationship between boat and owner, whether it be the great Mythos or one of the boats from the 1930s: everyone sees their yacht as being a part of them, almost as if it were an extension of their very selves. The Aquarama takes the lion’s share, there again the best definition of this perfect object is precisely that of “A Legend within a Legend”. Considered by all to be the most beautiful boat in the world, the Aquarama is the icon of a brand in continuous evolution. Never resting on its laurels, Riva has constantly offered new models and new shapes and while they share continuity, each has its own specific identity. Since 2000, when the Ferretti Group took over the company, more than fifteen models have been presented on the market: from the smallest 27 foot Iseo to the largest 122-foot Mythos, each one is a reference point for the sailing world. From Carlo Riva to Norberto Ferretti, from Giorgio Barilani to Mauro Micheli, there is continuity in the vision of the product which has been the dream of generations and generations of boat owners whom we wish to thank for their loyalty, affection and esteem towards those whose job it is to renew and develop the Riva Legend day after day.

Ferruccio Rossi
Ferretti Group CEO

LIPICAR “mon amour”, Aquarama of my happiest years! Thanks to your seagoing qualities, I never missed a route, sailing from the Columns of Hercules to the Dardanelles, discovering the beauties of the Mediterranean and the enchanting and mythological islands in the Aegean.

Carlo Riva

From a letter of 23rd June 1965


Dear Mr. Riva,

… I would like to sincerely thank you for having sent us to Bellerive, as immediately on receiving my telegram, a specialist carried out the repairs on my Super Aquarama without delay. Everything is now in perfect working order and I greatly appreciated the speed with which the repair was made. Please extend my thanks to Mr. Lino Morosini for the excellent work done…

Principe Sadruddin Aga Khan
Owner of two Aquaramas.

Riva boats are objects that last through time… That is how we want to design them, as a form of respect for our work and for our owners.

Sergio Beretta
Founder with Mauro Micheli of Officina Italiana Design

From a letter of 12th September 1966 sent to Carlo Riva.

…I was very greatly impressed with the new Riva (Aquarama Ed.’s note). She is unquestionably more soft in riding and a safer boat on turns than the other models in that she banks somewhat and is less likely to skid. I predict great success with this boat. As always, I was greatly impressed with your engine installation, the superb design and quality of the fittings and the general way in which the boats are put together. I can appreciate all the effort that has gone into producing such a great product.

Richard Bertram
Owner of Bertram Yachts

As a boy, on Lake Como, I would see the powerful mahogany Rivas shoot past me and photographing them I would try to “capture” the strong emotions in the eyes of their owners. I find the same, identical emotions today when I portray them on the large Riva yachts; and it is like a journey back in time for me… feeling the same excitement and the same admiration!


Carlo Borlenghi

I have had the pleasure and the privilege of knowing and frequently meeting Carlo Riva, whose name is a myth in the history of motor boats. You don’t buy a Riva boat only because it has better features than the competition, but because you fall in love with it as soon as you see it. It represents the pleasure of beauty, the attention to detail, the pursuit of perfection and continuous improvement. I was lucky enough to work with the Riva yard when the Riva Ferrari 32 motorboat was produced and I currently own one of the first models, which I still use today with great pleasure and pride. Beautiful things never grow old.

Piero Ferrari
Son of Enzo Ferrari and Vice President of Ferrari SPA

All my congratulations on the constant success achieved by the Riva yard throughout the 170 years of its existence. The Riva brand is synonymous with elegance and exclusivity but above all it is associated with an incomparable skill.


S.A.S. Il Principe Sovrano Alberto II Grimaldi di Monaco

Quality, beauty and performance are the criteria for our choice, so we obviously turned towards Riva.

Elton John and David Furnish
Vertigo Owners

Lamborghini and Riva, examples of Italian excellence in the world. I remember very well my father’s satisfaction when, after several trials carried out with Carlo Riva, he managed to have two of our engines mounted on his Aqauarama. With such a performing boat we could win many races. The passion for races was born during those victories, which we developed later in the world of offshore racing by building especially dedicated engines that allowed us to win many world titles.

Tonino Lamborghini
Son of Ferruccio, founder of Lamborghini Auto.

Over the years, we have created boats that are now known by their name and their identity, we have designed them all with great passion, but one, more than the others, represents the union between the past and future of Riva; this is why the Rivarama will always remain in my heart.


Mauro Micheli
Designer since 1994 of all Riva boats.

Riva, as well as being my name and representing the company I work for, is a family story for me. A family I am very proud of; nurturing the hope that my daughters, grandchildren and nephews continue the tradition, becoming the sixth and seventh generation involved in the world of Riva… come on kids!

Lia Riva
Carlo Riva’s eldest child and CEO of the Monaco Boat Service.