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The Boat for all Seasons: Riva

June 14, 2024

Riva boats have long been celebrated for their timeless elegance and design. The "Boat for All Seasons" concept is more than a slogan; it's a philosophy that embodies Riva's essence. These boats are crafted to perform in all weather conditions and offer a stable and enjoyable ride all year round. Their versatility makes Riva boats perfect for various activities, from day trips to evening cruises.

Riva Aquarama [Source:]

Riva boats epitomize elegance, style, and comfort, a reputation they have preserved through decades. Their exquisite design, reliability, and durability make Riva the premier choice for boats and yachts.


The Riva legacy began in 1842 in Sarnico, on the shores of Lake Iseo, when a storm devastated the local fishing fleet. A newcomer, shipbuilder Pietro Riva repaired the boats and soon established his shipyard, launching high-quality vessels. Pietro’s son advanced the company by introducing internal combustion engines, marking the start of Riva's ascent.

In the 1920s, Riva became synonymous with comfort and craftsmanship. Ernesto’s third son, Serafino Riva, shifted the focus to powerboats, promoting Riva products at speedboat races and enhancing prestige. Under Serafino’s leadership, Riva gained prominence in boating for its masterfully crafted boats and yachts.

The fourth generation saw Serafino’s son, Carlo, emphasize meticulous design. In 1956, Carlo collaborated with architect Giorgio Barilani, ushering in a new era of Riva yachts. Iconic models like the Ariston, Tritone (the first with two engines), Florida, and Sebino emerged from this partnership.

The 1950s and 60s were marked by significant innovation. The 1962 Aquarama became a hallmark of Riva’s design. By 1969, Riva introduced composite models like the Bahia Mar 20’ and Sport Fisherman 25’, while wooden models remained popular during the 90s.

In 1969, Carlo Riva sold the shipyard to the Ferretti Group, yet the brand continued to thrive. Riva boats retain their unique design, reliability, and tradition, spanning over a century and a half.

Carlo Riva and his daughter [Source:]


One of the defining features of Riva boats is their seamless blend of classic aesthetics and modern technology. The design pays homage to the golden age of yachting in the mid-20th century, featuring sleek lines and curves that evoke a sense of nostalgia. However, Riva Boats discreetly incorporates advanced technology, ensuring the latest innovations enhance functionality without detracting from their classic charm. Thus, they offer the best of both worlds.

Each boat is a handcrafted masterpiece featuring polished mahogany decks, luxurious leather interiors, and meticulous attention to detail, reflecting the artisans' dedication to quality.  Every detail, from the stitching to the materials used, demonstrates a commitment to the highest quality standards.


Over the decades, Riva boats have maintained their reputation for luxury, quality, and sophistication, attracting a remarkable roster of famous owners. Owning a Riva means embracing a legacy of excellence and prestige, a trait shared by some of the world’s most iconic and influential men.

Iconic actresses Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, and Elizabeth Taylor were often seen aboard their Riva, expressing elegance and classical beauty. Both of them contributed to enhancing Riva's charm, adding an aura of seduction and status.

Brigitte Bardot in her Riva [Source:]

The legendary business magnate Aristotle Onassis, synonymous with immense wealth and high society, also chose Riva, highlighting its appeal to the world’s most influential and affluent individuals. 

Hollywood superstar George Clooney is another proud Riva owner. With his sophisticated taste and appreciation for the finer things, his selection of this sleek boat highlights the brand’s connection to luxury and leisure, while also making a powerful statement.

Even royalty, princes, and sheiks worldwide have been captivated by the charm of Riva boats. These exquisite vessels have graced royal fleets, adding a touch of aristocratic approval. This fact alone speaks volumes about Riva’s quality, reliability, and prestige.

[Source: Unsplash]


Experiencing a Riva boat in some of the world’s most picturesque locations elevates any journey to an unforgettable adventure. Here are four premier destinations where cruising on a Riva offers unparalleled experiences, each renowned for their prestigious associations with Riva boats.

Lake Como, Italy

Famed for its spectacular landscapes and elegant villages, Lake Como is a sanctuary for luxury travelers. Enjoy Como’s serene waters among the alpine backdrop in the privacy of your Riva while exploring romantic towns like Bellagio and Varenna. If you want to make a small stop and enjoy local specialties, these towns and their cobble-stone streets will take your breath away. The lake’s calm surface and stunning scenery are perfect for leisurely cruises with your loved ones. And when night falls, relax at the elegant and imposing Villa Georgina, a heritage property. Situated in the serene and picturesque village of Blevio, this exclusive lakefront residence embodies a perfect fusion of timeless Medici-era elegance and modern high-culture sophistication.

Lakeside view of Villa Georgina

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Dramatic cliffs of the Amalfi Coast are best experienced from the security that Riva boats ensure. While cruising along Italy’s most breathtaking coastline, you can stop in towns like Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello for the most exquisite Tyrrhenian Sea experience. The vibrant blue sea, the stunning coastal scenery, and the fresh air all create a magical setting perfect for a luxurious and relaxing escape.

Villa Rondinaia, a historic residence in the Gulf of Salerno in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast cliffs, mirrors the enteral elegance of Riva Boats. Just as the Riva blends luxury and craftsmanship on the water, Villa Rondinaia, or “The Swallow's Nest” as it is called, boasts a neoclassic design and is undoubtedly one of the most striking and unique villas with breathtaking views. Often hailed as "paradise" by the Italian press, welcomed numerous illustrious guests over the years. Among them were Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Princess Margaret, Hillary Clinton, Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Leonard Bernstein, Italo Calvino, Andy Warhol, Tim Robins, Peter O' Toole, Paul Morrisey, Rudolf Nureyev, Mick and Bianca Jagger, and many more.

Neoclassical Villa Rondinaia in Ravello

Imagine cruising the Mediterranean in a Riva, then returning to the villa’s serene sanctuary, where Italian style and comfort await in perfect harmony.

The French Riviera & Monaco

The epitome of glamour and elegance, the French Riviera is only elevated by the presence of Riva boat enthusiasts. The Riviera offers infinite possibilities, from the bustling port of Saint-Tropez to the chic promenades of Cannes and the serene beaches of Nice, not forgetting Monaco and Monte Carlo. A Riva boat is a perfect vessel to navigate this glamorous coastline, offering unparalleled views of the Mediterranean and access to exclusive seaside clubs and hidden coves.

Navigating Franch Riviera in Rivarama runabout

Villa Alessia is a perfect starting point for your maritime sojourns on the Cote d'Azur. Situated in the picturesque setting of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Villa Alessia stands as a luxurious haven. Its elevated position offers stunning views of Monaco and the sparkling blue sea, providing a tranquil and lavish environment ideal for an unforgettable stay. Villa Alessia invites guests to experience the perfect blend of luxury and peace, making it the quintessential destination for an opulent escape.  

Villa Alessia in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin 

Balearic Islands, Spain

The Balearic Islands, including Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca, are a paradise for boat lovers. A Riva boat lets you explore the islands’ pristine beaches and lively ports. Whether you’re seeking the vibrant nightlife of Ibiza or the tranquil beauty of Menorca’s secluded bays, a Riva boat provides an exceptional way to discover these spellbinding destinations' diverse landscapes and vibrant culture.

Venice, Italy

Cruising through the enchanting canals of Venice on a Riva boat is legendary, embodying a trope celebrated both in movies and real life. As you glide over the serene waters, the sleek lines and exquisite craftsmanship of the Riva boat mirror the elegance of the Venetian architecture surrounding you. The iconic mahogany hull sparkles under the sun while the powerful engine hums softly, propelling you effortlessly through historic waterways. Whether passing beneath the Rialto Bridge or navigating the labyrinthine calli, every moment on a Riva boat in Venice is steeped in romance and sophistication. 


"They call it "the seventh art", but once you get to know it, you'll realize that it is the first...because it's the art of living. It's the art of believing so firmly without limits in a dream that you grab hold of it and make it real!"

This sentiment perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Riva in the movies. From Nikita's high-octane adventures to the sophisticated scenes in "Talented Mr. Ripley,” with the iconic mahogany classics and their ultramodern cousins, Riva Boats continue to embody the art of living, turning dreams into reality on the silver screen for over sixty years. As powerful cinematic symbols that enhance storytelling and visual appeal, they are a visual metaphor for wealth, sophistication, adventure and freedom, nostalgia and escapism. 

Their presence helps establish time and place, convey character traits, and evoke specific emotions, adding authenticity and detail to the mise en scène. For instance:

  • Character Development: A character piloting a Riva Boat is immediately associated with sophistication, style, and possibly a taste for adventure or luxury.
  • Setting the Mood: The sleek lines and polished wood of the boats can add to the aesthetic appeal of a scene, whether it's a high-speed chase or a leisurely sail on tranquil waters.
  • Narrative Enhancement: The boats often serve as pivotal plot devices, creating opportunities for action, romance, or dramatic tension.

This is vividly exemplified in lauded epics to Italian triumphs, action movies like Nikita, James Bond, or Ocean’s Twelve, and multi-award-winning arthouse films like The Great Beauty, where a Riva cameo has often come along to steal the show.

“RIVA IN THE MOVIE”: New Edition with 52 Films plus QR codes to watch Riva in action in the movies [Source:]

In James Bond films "From Russia with Love" (1963) and "GoldenEye" (1995)

Riva Boats symbolize sophistication, speed, and Agent 007's adventurous lifestyle. Their sleek design and luxurious feel enhance the high-stakes, glamorous world of espionage and thrilling chases.

“Nikita” (1990)

In Luc Besson’s film Nikita, the titular character and her companion’s trip to Venice begins with a stunning Riva Ariston, an iconic model known for its exquisite craftsmanship and elegant design. The sleek lines and powerful presence of the Riva boat enhance the cinematic experience, creating a visually stunning backdrop for Nikita's thrilling escapades.

"The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999)

The Riva Aquarama in this psychological thriller symbolizes the opulent, carefree lifestyle of the wealthy characters. The boat scenes amplify the movie's themes of envy, deception, and desire for a luxurious life, contributing to the film's tense atmosphere and visual allure.

"Ocean’s Twelve" (2004)

"Ocean’s Twelve"  film scenes with Riva Runabout emphasize the glamour and sophistication of the characters' high-stakes, jet-setting in this heist film. The scenes featuring these boats underline the elegance and class of the ensemble cast, fitting seamlessly into the film's stylish and polished aesthetic. Riva Aquariva appears in this Ocen’s Eleven sequel, where the action takes place on Lake Como. Sidenote: George Clooney bought the same boat for himself shortly after filming.

"Mamma Mia!" (2008)

The Riva Aquarama plays a vital role in the musical romantic comedy set in the picturesque Greek islands. The boat symbolizes escape, freedom, and romance, aligning perfectly with the film's whimsical and lighthearted tone.Riva: The Persuaders To celebrate Riva's 180th anniversary, the brand released an elegant short film titled "Riva: The Persuaders!" This classy action movie features a star-studded cast, including Pierfrancesco Favino, David Beckham, and Charles Leclerc. Inspired by the iconic TV series "The Persuaders!" – known in Italy as "Attenti a quei due" – the film masterfully combines elements of elegance, irony, and adrenaline, capturing the essence of Riva's storied legacy.

Scene from the short film “Riva in the Movie” with Pierfrancesco Favino, a prequel to “Riva: The Persuaders” [Source:]


For Riva enthusiasts, owning a piece of the brand extends beyond the water. Riva-branded merchandise offers a range of collectibles, including intricately detailed scale models that capture the essence of these iconic boats. With their elegant design and precision craftsmanship, Riva watches allow you to “navigate” the maritime luxury “on dry land.” 

Mambo fabric Backgammon [Source:]

The apparel line features stylish clothing and accessories. These pieces examplify the brand's enduring elegance, ideal for both casual and formal occasions. Home décor items, such as Riva-themed artwork and nautical accents, bring the elegance of the open sea into everyday living spaces.

Whether displayed in a home or worn with pride, Riva merchandise allows enthusiasts to celebrate their passion for this iconic brand in every aspect of their lives.

Foulard Rivamare, the soft silk scarf –a must-have touch of class for any exclusive occasion. [Source:]


Riva boats have set benchmarks in nautical design, with iconic models like the Aquarama, Aquariva, and Rivamare. 

THE AQUARAMA, introduced in the 1960s, is the most famous and celebrated for its sleek lines, mahogany construction, and powerful performance. It epitomized luxury boating and became a symbol of the Dolce Vita era, beloved by celebrities and royalty. 

The Aquarama’s signature turquoise 

  • The original Riva Aquarama line was produced from 1962 to 1972. 
  • It featured the original classic Riva Aquarama yacht, with 288 units sold, and the Super Aquarama, boasting 203 models launched.
  • The Aquarama Special emerged from 1972 to 1996, and 278 boats were built
  • The priciest classic Riva ever constructed was an Aquarama.
  • It was deemed extra special as it was the last original wooden-hulled Riva sold to the public.
  • Bidders from around the world vied to own the boat; It crossed the block at Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee, Florida, in 2011 for an impressive $975,000. 

THE AQUARIVA continues this legacy with modern enhancements. Launched in the early 2000s, it features advanced materials and technology while maintaining the classic aesthetic. Its streamlined design and luxurious finishes make it a favorite among contemporary enthusiasts. 

Aquarive Super runabout [Source:]
  • The Aquariva was launched in 2001, a year after the Ferretti Group purchased Riva
  • The AquaRiva model has evolved and is constructed with fiberglass and now offers superyacht-sized editions.
  • Ferretti Group is preserving the essence of classic Riva yachts in its new runabouts.
  • The 11-meter yacht was crafted explicitly as the successor to the iconic Aquarama. 
  • Despite being constructed from GRP, its elegant exterior lines and wood detailing evoke the charm of a bygone era. 

THE RIVAMARE, the latest in the line, combines tradition with innovation. It boasts cutting-edge features, superior comfort, and exceptional performance, embodying the evolution of Riva’s craftsmanship.

Rivamare runabout
  • It was launched in June 2016.
  • It is the latest addition to the Riva collection.
  • It boasts effortlessly classic styling
  • It is 11.88-metre long 
  • It comes equipped with cutting-edge technology, including underwater lighting, air conditioning, an electro-hydraulic bimini shade, and a Seakeeper NG5 stabilizer.
Aerial view of a luxury wooden Riva runabout moving on dark water 

As you prepare for a luxurious getaway to some of these stunning destinations in LVH’s portfolio, LVH will ensure you indulge in the most prestigious accommodations. We will offer you the epitome of a home-away-from-home experience, replete with relaxation and adventure, curated to your preferences. Among these experiences, navigating in Riva runabouts or enjoying a ride on a Riva yacht stands out as an indulgence not to be missed. We invite you to contact one of our client relations professionals today and let LVH turn your travel aspirations into immeasurable moments.

#Luxury Yachts #Luxury Rentals Italy
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