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The Riva boatyard was established in 1842 on Lake Iseo, in Sarnico-Italy. This was the place where the first boats designed by Riva were launched and immediately stood out for their unmatched style and personality. Riva rapidly gained great respect and recognition; the boatyard flourished also thanks to the far-sightedness of Ernesto Riva, who had succeeded his father Pietro and introduced internal combustion engines on Riva boats. The era of large cargo and passenger boats operating on the lake thus began. After World War I, Serafino Riva gave Riva products their final imprinting and turned the boatyard’s precious crafts into a real brand, allowing it to take a step into history: production steered from transportation to power boating, which at the time was still dawning.

The 1950s were the years of Carlo Riva; the brand had by then become the synonym of elegance, status and perfection. Selected materials of the highest quality, a painstaking care for the tiniest details, unparalleled, long-standing expertise and craftsmanship. Riva’s creations became the object of desire for the aristocracy, award winning athletes, successful businessmen and movie stars. In the decade of the Italian industrial revolution, dominated by the myth of speed and racing cars, l’Ingegnere, as Carlo Riva is called, sensed the importance of this phenomenon and created a series of wooden yachts. One of them was the Ariston, of which Carlo Riva says it was “designed with love, born pure and strong like a pedigree horse. Unforgettable! It was my Lord of the Sea”. The Tritone followed (the first two-engine yacht), then the Sebino (which marked the beginning of series production), and then the Florida, whose name evokes the American model that was particularly fashionable in those years.

In November 1962 the myth was born: it was named “Aquarama”. Since its presentation, at the third Milan International Boat Show, the Aquarama became the symbol of Riva par excellence, almost “a brand within the brand”. The name of the yacht drew inspiration from the Cinerama system, the American experimental wide screens. The slogan the yacht was launched with contained several key-words: “Sun, sea, joie de vivre!” The prototype was the mythical Lipicar no. 1, the evolution of the Tritone. 8.02 meters in length, 2.62 meters wide, capable of sleeping up to eight people, two berths at the bow, two 185 hp Chris-Craft petrol engines, a speed of 73 km/h. The price: 10 million 800 thousands liras.

The year 1969 was another milestone in the history of the legendary brand: it was then that fiberglass production started. The first two Riva models in composite material were born: the day cruiser Bahia Mar 20’ and the cabin cruiser Sport Fisherman 25’. The new material was first accurately studied by purchasing the hull from the Bertram boatyard. The hull was subsequently redesigned and both models were then finished with wood details, in line with Riva’s tradition. Between the 1970s and the 1990s, more yachts were created, including the St. Tropez – which was produced until 1992 – and the Superamerica, the first large cabin cruiser, which was available on the market for more than 20 years. In spite of the success met by fiberglass, Riva’s production of wooden runabouts continued until 1996, when the last Aquarama Special (hull number 784) was built. In 1991 Riva presented the 58′ Bahamas at Genoa International Boat Show – it was the first yacht designed by Mauro Micheli whom is still with the company today.

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