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GECUA yacht for Sale | Riva Folgore 88 for Sale

Best Riva Yachts for Sale

About the riva shipyard.

The renowned Italian Riva shipyard is known for the elegance and speed of their yachts. The legendary brand is synonymous with European savoir-faire and timeless design. It’s no coincidence that almost every James Bond movie features Riva yachts, probably most infamously in Casino Royale, where Daniel Craig and Eva Greene cruise into Venice onboard a Riva Spirit 54. This spirit of excellence is expressed in every Riva yacht for sale on the market today.

Are you looking for a Riva yacht for sale? Contact a broker today, or continue reading to discover why Riva boats are among the most sought-after in today’s superyacht market.

The Riva Legend: an Italian Success Story of Craftsmanship and Engineering

The history of the esteemed Italian Riva shipyard dates back to 1842, when young Pietro Riva started making a name for himself, restoring yachts damaged by a storm on Lake Iseo, Italy, like no other. He continued to open the Riva shipyard in Sarnico, where he started developing the first Riva models, earning Riva yachts an excellent reputation. His son Ernesto Riva then continued his father’s legacy by introducing the first Riva yachts powered by internal combustion engines.

Today, the Riva brand is one of the world’s most seemed and prestigious yacht builders, perfectly combining elegance and speed.

Exclusive Italian elegance and design

Since the Riva shipyard was acquired by the Ferretti Group in 2000, the brand and its reputation have only grown. Another outstanding feature of every Riva yacht for sale is expressed in the builder’s exclusive partnership with Mauro Micheli. Micheli, alongside Sergio Beretta, is the founder of Officina Italiana Design and has an exclusive design partnership with the Riva shipyard.

The Riva Yacht Range

The Riva range expresses the shipyard’s commitment to revolutionary engineering, reliability, and performance throughout all models. Currently, Riva is producing a range of 19 different yacht models.

Riva Open Model Range

The Riva Dolceriva, Riva Aquariva, Riva Bahamas Super, and Riva Rivamare are just some of the builder’s open yacht models. The open model range consists of motor yachts between 23ft and 85 ft (7-26m) and is the epitome of European sport boats.

Riva Sportfly Range

The Sportfly yacht range combines the speed of the open model range and the comfort of the flybridge range. The Riva 66 Ribelle, Riva 76 Perseo Super, and Riva 88 Folgore range from 65ft to 88ft (20 to 27m) and combine the best of both worlds.

Riva Flybridge Range

Riva’s flybridge line ranges from 82ft to 108ft (25 to 33m) and includes the iconic Riva 110 Dolce Vita model. All flybridge yachts are designed with the utmost comfort and elegance in mind while still impressing with great cruising speeds.

Riva Superyacht Range

The Riva superyacht range includes three catalog models that truly express that yacht’s commitment to elegance and forward-thinking engineering. The Riva 130 Belissima, Riva 50 Metri (264ft), and Riva 54 Metri (177ft) are the epitome of European yacht building and feature the brand’s signature design throughout.

Custom Riva Motor Yachts

In addition to their impressive model range, Riva has built numerous custom luxury yachts. Famous custom Riva yachts are 95.8ft (29.2m) Ruzarija, 85.3 (26m) BLACK PEARL AJJACIO, and 264ft (50m) RACE.

Why buy a Riva yacht for sale?

There are many reasons why you would want to buy a Riva yacht. Some of the most outstanding ones are:

Engineering & Speed

From day one onwards, all yachts from the esteemed Riva shipyard are crafted with perfect engineering in mind, reaching up to 45 knots.

Elegance & Design

A Riva’s iconic lines are recognizable from far away, and the elegance of Mauro Micheli’s design translates into the very last detail of every Riva yacht’s design.

Iconic Shipbuilding Heritage

Pietro Riva, Ernesto Riva, and most recently, Serafino Riva and Carlo Riva have truly translated their Italian heritage into the Riva brand. The long family-owned shipyard has stayed true to its roots and is the epitome of European luxury.

Wide Range of Models

The wide model range from 23ft to over 177ft (7m to over 50m) allows owners to grow with the brand and have a yacht that fits every need. While a Riva Aquariva is the perfect model to cruise into Venice like James Bond, the Riva Bellissima is the ideal yacht for a cruise along the Italian Riviera.

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Looking to buy a Riva yacht? Contact Northrop & Johnson’s Riva specialists today and find the Riva model that is right for you!

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Riva boats hall of fame: 10 of the best models from vintage raceboats to modern motor yachts

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One of the oldest and most revered names in boating, Riva has had many faces over the decades. We pick out our favourite Riva boats from their extensive back catalogue...

Decades after Riva stopped making wooden boats, no-one has ever done a better job of making timeless works of art out of mahogany. But there always was much more to the legendary boatyard than its woodworking skills.

Power, performance and gorgeous looks have always been as crucial to the Riva offering as impeccably grain-matched dowels and twelve coats of varnish.

And the yard has built some absolute classics in fibreglass too. With a history that stretches back into another century, choosing just ten of the best Riva boats to write about is a tricky task.

10 of the best Riva boats of all time


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Ronzino (1935).

If Carlo Riva gave the boatyard the iconic status that we still acknowledge today, it was his father Serafino’s passion for racing hydroplanes that set the ball rolling, back in the 1920s and 30s.

Boats like the victorious Ronzino , built for Count Metello Rossi, shone the limelight on the Riva brand for the first time, and set the stage for the famous high-performance runabouts that followed.

Fifteen feet long and powered by an inboard four-cylinder, 145hp, 1.5-litre BPM petrol engine, Ronzino was built of double-skinned aviation plywood on oak formers.

Article continues below…

Best Azimut yachts: 7 of the finest models from the famed Italian yard

Riva 76 perseo super: full vip tour of this stunning italian icon, riva tritone (1950).

Twin engined and more than 26ft long, the Tritone was a muscleboat before the word had been invented. The earliest examples sported 177hp engines and had a top speed of 45 knots, but the 16-year course of its 258-unit production saw the Tritone grow slightly longer but a lot more powerful, culminating in the Cadillac model with its pair of 320hp V8s.

Less voluptuous than the fabled Aquarama, which shared its hull, the Tritone is still regarded by many aficionados as the quintessential wooden Riva – powerful, authoritative and effortlessly elegant.


Riva Bertram 25 Sport Fisherman (1970)

In 1970 both Riva and Bertram found themselves owned by the Whittaker Corporation. The synergies weren’t immediately obvious, but Carlo Riva knew he had to get into fibreglass boatbuilding, and Dick Bertram’s boats had an unequalled reputation for high-speed seakeeping thanks to their race-proven deep-V hulls.

Carlo’s decision to bring a 25 over to Sarnico to fit out as a Mediterranean luxury weekender, with an elevated finish, plenty of interior wood, and a more versatile cockpit design, was an instant classic.


Riva Rudy (1972)

Small, fast, fun and gorgeous to look at, the 19ft Rudy speedboat was Riva’s first in-house GRP project, its hull mould taken off a wooden Riva Junior.

With a single 190hp four-cylinder petrol engine and shaft drive, it made an ideal yacht tender, ski-boat or fun runabout, while its stylish looks, 36-knot top speed and big aft sunbed offered all the advantages of the wooden boats without the maintenance headaches.

riva yacht types

Riva 2000 (1973)

Design legend Sonny Levi was not just a superb naval architect and brilliant engineer, he also drew some of the best-looking boats of his era. When Riva asked him to design a triple-engined sportscruiser powered by his innovative surface drive system, the result was destined to be something special.

The 37ft, two-berth Riva 2000 packed 1,050 horsepower in a 20-degree deep-V hull, and could reach 53 knots fully loaded. It inspired boatyards on both sides of the Atlantic to up their game, and still turns heads today, 40 years later.

riva yacht types

Riva 50 Superamerica (1981)

In the days when the London Boat Show was squashed into the original 1930s Earls Court Exhibition Centre, the biggest boat on display was often the 50ft Riva Superamerica shown by Lewis Marine, behind a red rope and guarded by a uniformed commissionaire.

British boatbuilders at the time had nothing to match it, but as well as picking up some valuable marketing tips, they also saw just how cool and desirable a big flybridge yacht could be.

It took a while, but when Fairline’s 50 came out in 1986 it represented a huge step for UK boatbuilding, its two-tone gelcoat a conscious homage to its Italian inspiration.

Riva Ferrari 32 (1988)

Early Rivas sported engines from Chris-Craft . There was at least one Lamborghini-powered Aquarama . The shipyard was never shy of collaborations with bigger brands, and in the world of high-octane luxury there’s no bigger brand than Ferrari.

So although it’s a shame it didn’t have Ferrari engines, the Riva Ferrari’s twin 390hp BPM V8s with surface drives still pushed it to 53 knots, and it was designed using Ferrari’s CAD software, an idea as advanced for the time as the carbon fibre used for the radar arch. Just 40 were built.

riva yacht types

Riva Aquariva (2000)

Back in 1998 Riva was owned by British engineering group Vickers. Wooden boat manufacture had been wound up two years before. The yard was floundering, but Stephen Julius, a canny Anglo-Italian entrepreneur (who soon moved on to Chris-Craft), understood the problem, and the brand.

The result was the magnificent Aquariva, 33 feet (10m) of perfectly-proportioned, high-performance dayboat, which had all the quality and allure of its thickly-lacquered predecessors, but in fibreglass. It showed the way to Riva’s future, and when Julius sold up in 2000, all the Ferretti Group had to do was keep going along that path.

riva yacht types

Riva 76 Perseo (2015)

Given Riva’s indelible association with fast, open sports machines, it’s easy to forget how pioneering the yard has also been in the more sensible world of flybridge cruising boats.

And dazzled by the pure allure of the 76 Perseo you might be forgiven for not noticing that it too has an upper helm station, and seating up there for ten – not forgetting the spacious deck saloon and four sleeping cabins down below. Sensible, however, it isn’t – the Perseo packs up to 3,600hp and can blast along at close to 40 knots.

riva yacht types

Riva Rivamare (2016)

The old Riva spirit is alive and well in the 39ft Rivamare , a fibreglass reimagining of the legendary Aquarama, complete with a powerful flared bow, wraparound windscreen, sculpted stern and a central walkway up through the sunbed.

Times have changed, though, so it also offers a modern medium-V hull, twin 400hp Volvos on Duoprop drives, a practical galley, air-conditioning and a gyro stabiliser. But it remains an unashamed, old-school open boat, without even a radar mast, and it goes as good as it looks.

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How Riva Became The Ultimate Italian Luxury Yacht Brand

These beautiful boats have been favored by everyone from Sophia Loren to George Clooney.

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Riva has always been at the top of the Richter Scale of cool. The wooden Italian speedboats ooze glamour and sophistication, especially when they were so famously owned and graced by the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Alain Delon, Sophia Loren, and power duo Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor–the mid-century equivalent of Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

Even today, the myth of Riva isn’t just era defining, it’s place defining. To illustrate this, is it possible to picture St. Tropez without sun worshipers celebrating on a Riva boat, or can Lake Como be complete without George Clooney plying its waters in a Riva, evoking a modern day Carey Grant?

riva yacht types

Beyond the irresistible jet-set imagery of the Riviera of the 1950s and ‘60s, Riva boats still command smiles and drools today with their contemporary models. And that’s the brilliance of Carlo Riva. Carlo was the great-grandson of Pietro Riva who, 177 years ago, founded the namesake company on Lake Iseo in northern Italy. 

Similar to its larger and more famous brothers Lake Como and Lake Garda, the tip of Lake Iseo sits at the foot of the Alps and is surrounded on both sides by screensaver-worthy countryside, villages and vineyards. It’s a place that begs James Bond to chase villains or seduce women on something as appropriate as a shiny mahogany speedboat.

riva yacht types

Here in the town of Sarnico, Carlo followed in the footsteps of his father who, after having apprenticed under the original paterfamilias, slowly transitioned Riva from a maker of transportation and passenger craft to pleasure and power craft.

When it was his turn to take the helm, however, Carlo broke with tradition and transformed the small family business of made-to-order powerboats into a global industrialized powerhouse. He did this by looking to the American company Chris-Craft, emulating its processes, but also taking it a step further.

At the time, Chris-Craft was the Cadillac of runabouts – they defined a product and a style. They were handsome, powerful, reliable, and attainable by the burgeoning upper middle class. If Chris-Craft was to Cadillac, it seemed, then Riva would be to Ferrari.

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Carlo was very perceptive to the growing demands of a post-war Europe flush with prosperity, and excelled at capturing the collective zeitgeist. He knew there was a market for his vision and so with the boldness of a Caesar, he took a massive risk and built a new ultramodern (not to mention incredibly cool) boatyard on the lake shore – a working monument that still serves as the company’s headquarters today.

Although Carlo implemented a modern assembly-line approach to Riva boatbuilding – a process that changed the fortunes and the future of the company, he never sacrificed the family’s legendary attention to detail (such as aligning every screwhead horizontally, for example). 

Even more significant, Carlo became a leader in marine design and application, making his boats not just practical and beautiful but also innovative. This melding of state-of-the-art methods with old-world craftsmanship, combined with Carlo’s innate mastery of image building, propelled Riva to almost immediate international prestige.

As the Italians do so well, Carlo was able to imbue his brand with an intangible essence that evoked all that was desirable. A Riva wasn’t just a luxury boat, it was a lifestyle statement that represented the epitome of la dolce vita. To own a Riva was to live the good life.

In keeping with Carlo’s vision, Riva continues to embrace the latest in modern technology when it comes to building its boats today, with a model line that has grown to include personal speedboats as well as seaworthy yachts. Just as important, Riva also maintains its fastidious attention to detail and infuses each craft with a uniquely Italian spirit.

The signature visual features of a Riva boat and, by extension, the Riva brand are the strips of polished mahogany covering the bow and stern (still finished with 22 hand-applied coats of special glossy sealant) and the famous Riva turquoise blue upholstery. The mahogany details are still present in modern Rivas, although most now sport other upholstery colors than turquoise. Nevertheless, this proprietary shade of seafoam blue is as intertwined with the brand as rosso corsa is with Ferrari.

To visit the boatyard in Sarnico is a pilgrimage in the motoring world, especially for those obsessed with this iconic brand – like me. Treating my special invitation like a golden ticket, I arrived at this hallowed space floating on a cloud. Even more fortunate, it was a Sunday morning when the facility was closed and I was getting a personal tour from the company’s resident historian.

“Here is the first Aquarama,” he says, pointing to the most legendary of all Riva models. “This is Serafino Riva’s (Carlo’s dad) first racing boat, that’s the Aquariva by Marc Newson, and this is the boat done in collaboration with Ferrari.” 

As I’m led from room to room, the weight of history only increases and so does my appreciation. “This is where the carpenters carve the mahogany panels, this is where fiberglass components are made, over here in this engine bay are boats nearing completion…”


But the holy of holies was the personal office of Carlo Riva. Designed by him to resemble the bridge of a ship, the spacious room occupies the uppermost floor of the building and is accessed by spiral stairs of gleaming mahogany. Jutting out above the water, the room is lined with massive windows overlooking the lake – where Carlo could personally see every new boat leaving the factory – and the floor is made of heavily worn, polished wood rescued from an antique ship, complete with rust marks left by the old iron nails.

There’s an ancient ship’s wheel and a large brass engine telegraph (the instrument that has a lever pointing to “full, half, slow,” etc.). Not surprisingly, fabric pillows in the famous Riva blue color line a sofa, stacks of Riva books line the shelves, and the maestro’s long, wide desk sits in the corner surveying the room.

riva yacht types

This handsome command post is supposedly just as he left it. And what’s impressive is that it casually effuses that intangible Riva style – retrospective but modern, high-design but warm, masculine but elegant, thematic but not kitsch. In a word, it’s perfectly balanced – like some form of Italian feng shui.

My private tour inevitably ended but my interest was only heightened. What’s that I hear? I’m welcome to return anytime to have a further look behind the scenes, and an Aquariva had been scheduled to take me an hour up the lake to lunch?

The rain that had been falling outside was starting to let up. As I left Sarnico I could’ve sworn that as I looked back I saw a rainbow in the sky and it fell on the Riva boatworks.

For more, follow Jared Zaugg on Instagram . 

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Douglas Hensman

The story of classic Riva yachts go right back to 1842 , when a young Pietro Riva began repairing and building yachts on Lake Iseo in northern Italy. But it was his great-grandson, the legendary  Carlo Riva , who had the vision to create a range of wooden-hulled speedboats that were to become the epitome of the jet-set era of the 1950s and 1960s.

Carlo Riva was inspired by the products of the American yacht builder Chris-Craft, for which he was an agent, and he used Chris-Craft and Chrysler engines in his classic Riva yachts. We trace the history of the most popular classic Rivas, and round up a few of the most memorable Rivas of all time…

This sporty Riva classic yacht was equally well suited for a day of sunbathing or watersports.

riva yacht types

Featuring a large, sunken sun deck and often seen towing water-skiers, this sporty Riva classic yacht was equally well suited for a day of sunbathing or watersports. The Riva Florida is propelled by a single engine and ranged from 5.59 metres to 6.27 metres in her Super Florida size. Though she was built in Italy, like her brethren, her sun-loving demeanour earned her the moniker of the US “Sunshine State” and was named after Florida as at the time it was the place most closely linked with the sport of waterskiing. In her time in build, 426 Florida Rivas were delivered, including 711 of the bigger and more powerful Super Florida models.

Only one left from 40 boats

riva yacht types

Corsaro (1946-55): Only one yacht is thought to survive from the 40-strong pack of the first range of classic Riva yachts. The two-seater Corsaro Riva series was designed by Carlo Riva, based on the AR Sport motor boat. Production started on 1950, and the series ranged in length from 4.8 to 5.65 metres LOA and she was fitted with various engines.

Perhaps the best-known by sight classic Riva yacht.

riva yacht types

Certainly one of the most popular, is the Ariston, which was built for nearly 25 years. The single-engine Ariston measures 6.7 meters and features a distinctive rounded stern and wooden sax board. There were 823 Riva Ariston yachts built and another 189 Super Aristons delivered.

The first twin-engine classic Riva yacht


The first twin-engine classic range Riva yacht was the Tritone, in build from 1950-1966. While 221 of the standard Tritone version were delivered, far fewer of the far more desired Super Tritone came into being, with only 21 hitting the water. At nearly eight metres LOA, the Super Tritone was a long, powerful version of Riva’s Tritone, its biggest thus far. The Super Tritone is valued at €200,000-€300,000.

  • Tritone Special

The rarest Riva speedboat


Riva owners may commonly have been rich and famous, but it was rare to get special treatment; however, Carlo Riva broke his rule in the case of the Como industrialist, champion sailor and Riva patron, Achille Roncoroni. In 1960, Roncoroni persuaded the company to build him a one-off version of the Tritone Special model classic Riva yacht. He wanted the best, fastest and largest Riva ever. What he got was an 8.3 metre wood-clad wonder powered by two high-performance, marinised Cadillac Eldorado V8 engines, each producing 325hp to push the boat to a stunning 60mph. The unique interior had red, white and blue front seats that could be laid flat to let occupants sunbathe away from prying eyes. The dashboard featured sparkling, chrome bezel instruments befitting the Cadillac-powered Special.

Roncoroni used the boat,  Ribot III , mostly on Como, and kept her until 1970 before selling her on to the second owner who has owned this classic Riva ever since. And, true to his word, Carlo Riva ensured  Ribot III  remained a one-off, even turning down a request for a similar craft from King Hussein of Jordan.

The most expensive classic Riva yacht


The original Riva Aquarama line was delivered from 1962 to 1972. This included first classic Riva Aquarama yacht, of which 288 were sold, and the Super Aquarama, with 203 splashing. The Aquarama Special then emerged, running from 1972 to 1996 with 278 boats built.

The most expensive classic Riva ever built was probably an Aquarama, which crossed the block at Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee, Florida, back in 2011, for an impressive $975,000. Bidders from around the world competed to own the boat, which was considered extra special, because it was the last of the original, wooden-hulled Rivas to be sold to the public. Hull No 774 was completed in 1996 and delivered new to the founding family of the giant Sony Corporation on 23 December 1998.

Surely the ultimate Christmas present, it was one of six “End of the Era” commemorative editions produced. Its owners, however, clocked up fewer than 20 hours aboard her in 12 years, with their most ambitious voyage being a return trip across Lake Garda for lunch.

The celebrity’s choice of Riva

riva yacht types

The Riva Junior was the late 1960s replacement for the basic Riva Florida. At 5.6 metres, the classic Riva yacht model Junior found fame as the choice of the celebrity set such as Brigitte Bardot and Peter Sellers. The Riva Junior is valued at €30,000-€40,000.

The modern classic Riva speedboat

riva yacht types

Despite the move into fibreglass — and now superyacht-size yachts even — Riva’s current owner, the Ferretti Group, is still passionate about preserving the essence of classic Riva yachts in its new runabouts. In 2001, a year after Ferretti Group purchased Riva, the Aquariva was launched. This 11-metre yacht was specifically designed as a successor to the inimitable Aquarama. Though built in GRP, her sweet exterior lines and wood detail harken back to the days of a bygone era when the first classic Rivas plied the waters.

The newest Riva speedboat


Launched in June 2016, the Rivamare is the newest addition to the Riva collection. Despite her effortlessly classic styling, the 11.88 meter Rivamare is packed with modern technology, such as underwater lighting, air conditioning, an electro-hydraulic bimini shade and a Seakeeper NG5 stabilizer.

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Douglas Hensman


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Sophia Loren had one. So did Anita Eckberg and Sean Connery…as did violet-eyed Liz. Brigitte  Bardot’s had zebra print seats, and even George Bush was often spotted in his, breaking waves in the Hamptons. They’ve always been the nautical epitome of cool — and we’re not talking about the owners, but of the craft… the 100% Italian built Riva yacht .

Sleek, sexy, oh-so Italian…these streamlined vessels are known throughout the nautical world for their extraordinary quality, unforgettable design, and well…for having a suave factor that would be off the charts if suave charts existed. Even if you’re not familiar with the name, Riva yachts might hold a spot in your subconscious. Just for a second, visualize a bevy of the rich and famous motor-boating across an Italian lake, Prosecco in hand, or maybe a pulse pounding James Bond clip, our hero soaring over breaking waves as he escapes the ire of his latest nemesis. Odds are your imagination included a Riva built boat.

The Riva name is synonymous with luxury and glamour in the boat world, a brand that defies being classified as “just” a watercraft. It might even be more of a zeitgeist of ideology, of concept, of beauty,  a melding of style and function that make Riva one of the most desirable yacht names around.

riva yacht types

It’s a remarkable story of serendipity and talent that led to the birth of Riva boats. While Carlo Riva (1922-2017) is considered the father of classic contemporary Riva watercraft, had it not been for a run of bad weather on the banks of Lake Iseo in 1842, Sophia would’ve had to settle for a much less classy ride over her Italian lakes.

Heavy rains pummeled the small lakeside town of Sarnico , forcing the River Oglio from its banks. As flooding torrents scoured the village, they carried with them the small fleet of fishing vessels, tumbled about like children’s toys. The humble boats experienced severe damage; immediate help was needed and found through the expertise of a young boatwright by the name of Pietro Riva . Newly arrived from Laglio, Riva quickly set to work repairing and refitting the vessels with skill and quality. His craftsmanship earned the village’s admiration and trust, and eventually Riva opened his own shipyard on the Sarnico shoreline. Pietro’s early production featured quality battel da pesca (fishing boats) and canotto da passeggio (pleasure craft) to suit the needs of the locals, but as his young family grew, so did his vision for his small company.

Pietro’s mastery of boatbuilding was the beginning of a legendary line of shipwrights. His son Ernesto introduced power combustion engines, a forward-thinking step that brought the latest mechanical innovations to the business. His insight introduced not only speedier transportation of goods over the lakes, but the launch of nautical tourism, as well. Ernesto’s own motorboat prototype was a success…and a lot of fun; why not offer tourists the chance to experience the wind, waves, and sights that he was enjoying?  

riva yacht types

Riva’s visionary heritage continued when Ernesto’s son Serafino took the helm, bringing a major shift to the boatyard. It was after World War I and Italy was ready for distraction. Capitalizing on this, Serafino built and promoted high speed pleasure boats. Equipped for speed and agility, Riva power boats became the hot rod of the Italian lakes. Serafino’s designs quickly set the standard for the popular sport of speedboat racing in the 1920s and 1930s. Riva’s successful incorporation of efficient design and high-powered engines earned fame through multiple wins and titles in Italy and around the world.

“I want to build boats my own way I told my father…I started production in 1950 with six months of testing…It was the happiest day of my life.” ~ Carlo Riva

It wasn’t until Carlo Riva , son of Serafino, took the helm of Riva, however, that the seismic shift in production — and notoriety — began. With the skill, training, DNA, and drive of the Riva dynasty under his skin, Carlo revolutionized Riva design. After some serious head-butting with his father Serafino — who saw no need to change the line’s traditional success —  Carlo succeeded in forging ahead with his vision for a sleek, immaculately built boat featuring flawless functionality and glamorous visual appeal:  the nautical version of Italian flair and desirability. A new manufacturing facility was constructed in 1954 on the shores of Lake Iseo fusing state-of-the art innovation with Riva’s famed tradition for minute attention to detail and quality. Carlo’s vision set into motion Riva’s golden age of luxury watercraft; Riva yachts quickly became the coveted status symbol for those with an eye for ultimate fashion and function.  

riva yacht types

The breakthrough, however, that imbedded the iconic Riva style in modern awareness came about in 1962 with the launch of the Acquarama. Using the design protocol of his highly popular Tritone , Carlo reimagined the boat to feature roomier passenger space, a sun deck that seemed to beg for bathing beauties, and other innovations that set precedents in the boating world. His signature feature of turquoise blue upholstery with a matching wheel was the cherry on top. Named #1 of the Top 100 Best Boats Ever by “Motorboat & Yachting Magazine” and “Most beautiful boat in the World” by the International Press, this “Ferrari of the boat world” still quickens the pulse in many whenever she shows up in movies or commercials — or lakeside if you’re lucky enough to witness one slicing through the blue.

Carlo sold his company to an American firm in 1969 yet remained active for several more years. A succession of non-Italian owners finally came full circle in 2000 when the Italian Ferretti Group purchased Riva Yachts. Active in production today, Carlo’s imprint remains strong within the company, evident through the breath-taking style, consummate quality, and suave elegance permeating every Riva boat from cruiser to mega-yacht.

Riva Yachts, a name synonymous with Italian flair and elegance, remains one of the most coveted brands today. Even if owning one is out of reach, it’s possible to get up close and personal with a visit to the Riva Yacht factory in Sarnico. Standing next to Ernesto’s first motorboat, or perhaps feeling your pulse quicken as you admire the Aquarama #784, the last classic model off the production line in 1996, can quicken the pulse of any fan of the beauty of Italian design and innovation. Carlo’s spirit is alive and well on the shores of his beloved Sarnico.

“… Designed with love, pure and strong like a pedigree horse. Unforgettable!” ~ Carlo Riva 

Sophia Loren ne aveva uno. Anche Anita Eckberg e Sean Connery… come anche Liz dagli occhi viola. Quello di Brigitte Bardot aveva sedili zebrati, e persino George Bush è stato spesso visto a bordo del suo, mentre navigava negli Hamptons. Sono sempre stati l’epitome nautica del cool – e non stiamo parlando dei proprietari, ma dell’imbarcazione… lo yacht Riva costruito al 100% in Italia. Eleganti, sexy, così italiani… queste imbarcazioni aerodinamiche sono conosciute in tutto il mondo nautico per la loro straordinaria qualità, il design indimenticabile, e beh… per avere un fattore di soavità che sarebbe fuori dalle classifiche se esistessero classifiche di soavità. Anche se il nome non vi è familiare, gli yacht Riva potrebbero avere un posto nel vostro subconscio. Solo per un secondo, visualizzate un gruppo di ricchi e famosi che navigano a motore su un lago italiano, Prosecco alla mano, o magari un filmato di James Bond, con il nostro eroe che si libra sulle onde che si infrangono mentre sfugge all’ira della sua ultima nemesi. È probabile che la vostra immaginazione includa una barca costruita da Riva. Il nome Riva è sinonimo di lusso e glamour nel mondo delle barche, un marchio che sfida la classificazione di “semplice” imbarcazione. Potrebbe anche essere più dello spirito del tempo, dell’ideologia, del concetto, della bellezza, una fusione di stile e funzione che rendono Riva uno dei nomi più desiderabili di yacht. È una straordinaria storia di serendipità e talento quella che ha portato alla nascita delle barche Riva. Mentre Carlo Riva (1922-2017) è considerato il padre dei classici motoscafi Riva contemporanei, se non fosse stato per un periodo di maltempo sulle rive del lago d’Iseo nel 1842, Sophia avrebbe dovuto accontentarsi di un giro molto meno elegante sui laghi italiani. Forti piogge colpirono la piccola città lacustre di Sarnico, facendo uscire dalle sponde il fiume Oglio. Mentre i torrenti inondavano il villaggio, portarono con sé la piccola flotta di pescherecci, trascinati come giocattoli per bambini. Le umili barche subirono gravi danni; fu necessario un aiuto immediato, che fu trovato grazie alla competenza di un giovane maestro d’ascia di nome Pietro Riva. Appena arrivato da Laglio, Riva si mise subito al lavoro per riparare e sistemare le barche con abilità e qualità. La sua abilità artigianale guadagnò l’ammirazione e la fiducia del villaggio, e alla fine Riva aprì il suo cantiere navale sulla costa di Sarnico. La produzione iniziale di Pietro comprendeva battelli da pesca e canotti da passeggio di qualità per soddisfare le esigenze della gente del posto, ma quando la sua giovane famiglia crebbe, crebbe anche la visione della sua piccola azienda. La maestria di Pietro nella costruzione di barche fu l’inizio di una linea leggendaria di maestri d’ascia. Suo figlio Ernesto introdusse i motori a combustione, un passo lungimirante che portò le ultime innovazioni meccaniche al business. La sua intuizione introdusse non solo un trasporto più veloce delle merci sui laghi, ma anche il lancio del turismo nautico. Il prototipo di motoscafo di Ernesto fu un successo… e molto divertente: perché non offrire ai turisti la possibilità di sperimentare il vento, le onde e i panorami di cui lui godeva? L’eredità visionaria di Riva continuò quando il figlio di Ernesto, Serafino, prese il timone, portando un grande cambiamento nel cantiere. Era il primo dopoguerra e l’Italia era pronta a distrarsi. Capitalizzando questo cambiamento, Serafino costruì e promosse barche da diporto ad alta velocità. Equipaggiate per la velocità e l’agilità, le barche a motore Riva divennero l’hot rod dei laghi italiani. I progetti di Serafino stabilirono rapidamente lo standard per il popolare sport delle gare di motoscafi negli anni ’20 e ’30. La riuscita incorporazione da parte di Riva di un design efficiente e di motori ad alta potenza si guadagnò la fama attraverso molteplici vittorie e titoli in Italia e nel mondo. “Voglio costruire barche a modo mio, dissi a mio padre… Ho iniziato la produzione nel 1950 con sei mesi di prove… È stato il giorno più felice della mia vita”. ~ Carlo Riva Fu solo quando Carlo Riva, figlio di Serafino, prese il timone della Riva, però, che iniziò la svolta decisiva nella produzione – e nella notorietà. Con l’abilità, la formazione, il DNA e la grinta della dinastia Riva nella pelle, Carlo rivoluzionò il design Riva. Dopo qualche scontro con il padre Serafino – che non vedeva la necessità di cambiare il tradizionale successo della linea – Carlo riuscì a portare avanti la sua visione di una barca elegante, costruita in modo impeccabile e con un appeal visivo glamour: la versione nautica del fascino italiano e della desiderabilità. Nel 1954 fu costruito un nuovo stabilimento di produzione sulle rive del lago d’Iseo, fondendo l’innovazione allo stato dell’arte con la famosa tradizione Riva di attenzione al dettaglio e alla qualità. La visione di Carlo mise in moto l’età dell’oro delle imbarcazioni di lusso Riva; gli yacht Riva divennero rapidamente l’ambito status symbol per coloro che erano attenti alla moda e alla funzionalità. La svolta, tuttavia, che incastrò l’iconico stile Riva nella consapevolezza moderna avvenne nel 1962 con il lancio dell’Acquarama. Usando il protocollo di design del suo popolarissimo Tritone, Carlo reimmaginò la barca con uno spazio più ampio per i passeggeri, un ponte sole che sembrava implorare bellezze da bagno, e altre innovazioni che stabilirono dei precedenti nel mondo della nautica. La sua firma, tappezzeria blu turchese con una ruota abbinata, fu la ciliegina sulla torta. Nominata n. 1 fra le 100 migliori barche di sempre dalla rivista “Motorboat & Yachting Magazine” e “la più bella barca del mondo” dalla stampa internazionale, questa “Ferrari del mondo delle barche” fa ancora battere forte il cuore a molti ogni volta che appare nei film o nelle pubblicità – o in riva al lago se si è abbastanza fortunati da vederne una che sfreccia nel blu. Carlo vendette la sua compagnia a un’azienda americana nel 1969, ma rimase attivo ancora per diversi anni. Una successione di proprietari non italiani ha finalmente chiuso il cerchio nel 2000, quando il Gruppo Ferretti, italiano, ha acquistato Riva Yachts. Attivo oggi nella produzione, l’impronta di Carlo rimane forte all’interno dell’azienda, evidente attraverso lo stile mozzafiato, la qualità tradizionale e la soave eleganza che permea ogni barca Riva, dal cruiser al mega-yacht. Riva Yachts, sinonimo di fascino ed eleganza italiana, rimane uno dei marchi più ambiti oggi. Anche se possederne uno non è alla portata di tutti, è possibile avvicinarsi a questo marchio con una visita alla fabbrica Riva Yachts di Sarnico. Stare accanto al primo motoscafo di Ernesto, o magari sentire le pulsazioni accelerare mentre si ammira l’Aquarama #784, l’ultimo modello classico uscito dalla linea di produzione nel 1996, può emozionare qualsiasi fan della bellezza del design e dell’innovazione italiana. Lo spirito di Carlo è vivo e vegeto sulle rive della sua amata Sarnico. “…Progettata con amore, pura e forte come un cavallo di razza. Indimenticabile!” ~ Carlo Riva

riva yacht types

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Choosing a Riva Yacht's Color

May 15, 2019

riva yacht types

Considering the excess of options, what's your favorite Riva color and on which model? Today's yachting market is full of beautiful well-crafted vessels, but the ultra-exclusive yachts from Riva are in a class of their own.

Riva has a long history of designing and constructing the most beautiful boats on the water. The elegant brand has evolved with the passing of time and has matured to incorporate modern design with a refined feel that can often only be fully appreciated by the most sophisticated yachtsmen and women.

Riva manufactures a variety of 14 yachts ranging from 27' to 50 meters. Each model incorporates a special name rather than only using a size designation. The full range of Riva Yachts consists of:

  • Riva 27' Iseo
  • Riva 33' Aquariva Super
  • Riva 38' Rivamare
  • Riva 56' Rivale
  • Riva 63' Virtus
  • Riva 66' Ribelle
  • Riva 76' Bahamas
  • Riva 76' Perseo
  • Riva 88' Florida
  • Riva 88' Domino Super
  • Riva 90' Argo
  • Riva 100' Corsaro
  • Riva 110' Dolcevita
  • Riva 50 MT Project

So, what color Riva would you choose?

Article courtesy of:

Naples Yacht Sales

Chris Coughlin

Yacht Broker


riva yacht types

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  • REPORT – Why wooden Rivas are worth so much and how to restore them

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riva yacht types

“A Riva motorboat is always restorable.”

Let’s find out today in this article what the cult models are, how they came into being and how some of the most prized pieces of Italian boating history are being reborn today.

Wooden Riva motorboats: some boats are forever

For some people they are the most beautiful in the world, others would go to great lengths to get them, and there are probably even some who don’t like them, for who knows what reason. But one thing is certain: everyone knows the Riva. A British magazine in the 1990s conducted a poll among its readers about which boat name they knew best. The result? Aquarama, one of Riva’s cult models. There are few countries in the world where Carlo Riva’s boats have not arrived.

A Riva Ariston in New York

The Riva Ariston “Dolce Vita” in New York.

Why Riva motorboats are worth so much

“It has been the strength of the shipyard from the very beginning ,” explains Piero Maria Gibellini , president of the Riva Historical Society , founded in 1998 with Carlo Riva himself. and there were no real international rivals, only competitors on the local level. Riva’s, on the other hand, were distributed everywhere. And then one of these boats is equivalent to a cashier’s check.”

The work done around the brand from the creation of the association, to the various clubs with members, around the world, has ensured that a Riva boat, wherever it is in the globe, has a certain secure value. Carlo Riva was undoubtedly very skillful not only in building and designing, but also in advertising and selling his Rivas.

riva yacht types

On the left Piero Maria Gibellini and on the right Carlo Riva

The golden years of Riva’s wooden motorboats

The period between the 1960s and 1970s, when all the celebrities from the movies and beyond spent their vacations on the French Riviera aboard their Ariston or Aquarama left an indelible imprint and played a role in the consecration of the brand, so much so that even today a Riva refers back to those images and protagonists as well.

“Despite this ,” continued Piero Gibellini. do not think that one of these boats has a certain value just because it belonged to a star. The only two that, in my opinion, have a special value related to their owners, which may have its own weight in the price, are the Riva Junior that belonged to Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren’s Aquarama, which by the way is for sale.”

riva yacht types

Brigitte Bardot on her Riva Junior – Photo Courtesy: Piero Maria Gibellini – Riva Historical Society

The most beautiful Riva speedboat of all

There is also a classic Riva that, according to many, deserves the title “most beautiful of all.” Among the supporters of the thesis are Carlo Riva himself and Piero Gibellini. “The Ariston is the boat I fell in love with,” explains Piero Gibellini. – I purchased one in 1989. For me and for the Engineer (Carlo Riva ed.) it was, and is, the most beautiful. This design has the appeal of disregarding all market and usage logics. You can’t say it’s the most comfortable, but it’s the absolute purest.”

riva yacht types

Photo Courtesy: Piero Maria Gibellini – Riva Historical Society

From the early 1950s it was the Ariston that was the only model that remained on the list throughout the Carlo Riva management, in production until 1971. In time it was later joined by the Super Ariston, slightly longer and more powerful, which remained in production until 1974.

“When we talk about the most beautiful, we cannot forget the Triton, which for a long time was one of the top models and the predecessor of the Aquarama, which was later born on the same hull. The appeal of the Triton was so strong that it took Aquarama about five years to get it out of production.”

The Aquarama, Riva’s speedboat par excellence

The Aquarama is perhaps of all models the most famous and was born at the explicit request of customers who wanted a more practical Triton. In order not to spoil the perfect line of the boats-just think of the “Carlo Riva stern,” which develops as one seamless volume-the Triton was, when tested, impractical.

The Aquarama, which went into production in 1962, brought improvements, such as a sickle bar at the perimeter of the bow gunwale for resting your feet or an easier-to-reach stern sundeck. In 1969 came the last version of the hull, the smoothest in sailing, and the livability process culminated in 1972 with the Aquarama Special, born on the hull of the Super, which can be recognized by its more elongated stern, crossed by a walkway that ends in a swim platform (a solution we see today that is increasingly larger and on all types of boats) to make access to the water easier.

From the beginning of the century with the first prototypes, predating mass production, by Serafino Riva, who first tried his hand at building pleasure boats, making a name for himself in powerboating, wooden Rivas have spanned almost a century, until 1980 and the Olympic, the last remaining wooden model to be mass produced, excluding the Aquarama Special, which remained on the list until 1996, since ’90 produced on demand.

How to restore Riva motorboats.

The world’s most famous speedboats are, however, still in splendid shape today. How? Thanks to the work of people like Romano Bellini and his company, Bellini Nautica, which he carries on with his children Battista, managing director, and Martina, marketing manager.


Romano Bellini aboard an Aquarama from the collection.

“A Riva is always restorable,” says Romano Bellini, who, while not a shipwright, has been working on restoring wooden boats all his life. Suffice it to say that the first Riva bought it when he was 16 years old, and today he has the largest collection in the world (Read the article here )

“In restoration,” Romano continues, “we work mainly with Rivas and do at most a dozen boats a year, no more. Each boat needs an average of 9-12 months. It all starts with an analysis of the boat, the condition of the hull, engines, and upholstery. The goal is to always restore the original parts, but there are also times when this is not possible. For wood, the choice of raw material is crucial: the logs we use must be perfect, depending on the parts of the boat. Photo Courtesy: Bellini Nautica For the dashboard, for example, they should be without veins, as Carlo Riva wanted. The mahogany that our shipwrights employ on the Rivas must remain at least five years to season. For upholstery, we have been using the same upholsterer for forty years, and this applies to chrome plating, which needs very special processes. Photo Courtesy: Bellini Nautica It takes a lot of passion, because it is meticulous work, where you cannot be superficial or hasty. To restore a Riva to its original splendor requires, for example, thirty coats of paint. And, before the last two, the boat has to be put in the water to see that everything is okay, from the engines to the seal. I care about every single boat they entrust to me, as if it were my own, also because they are pieces of history that need to be preserved as best as possible.”

Gregorio Ferrari


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Riva’s First Superyacht

  • By Diane M. Byrne
  • Updated: July 28, 2020

In the early 1950s, a young man enthralled with his father’s boatbuilding company took over the family business. As sometimes happens when new generations step in, he wasn’t content to do the same thing his father, or his grandfather, had done. Strong ambition persuaded him to design and build pleasure boats, as opposed to the racing and commercial boats of the shipyard’s past. What’s more, he continuously wanted to outdo himself, focusing on creating motoryachts that were more than boats, as well as status symbols.

While the young Carlo Riva succeeded in all of this after taking the helm of Riva, there’s perhaps no better example of his driving ambition than the period from the mid-1960s into the 1970s, when he launched three limited series of motoryachts.

Not only were their steel hulls a marked change from the glistening mahogany of their sisterships, they were also far larger. The Atlantic series, at 88 feet, and the Caravelle series, at 74 feet, were astoundingly large for their eras. Between their style and the fact that they were faster than many other yachts at the time, they helped Riva find several clients.

More than 50 years later, the spirit of these series lives on with the Riva 50-Meter. It’s the first model in the Riva Superyachts Division and the second Riva constructed entirely of aluminum. At 160 feet, 9 inches length overall, she’s larger than any previous launch from the boatbuilder, but she upholds many of the same principles her predecessors established.

“She is full of personality, exactly like any other Riva yacht,” says Sergio Beretta, CEO and co-founder of Officina Italiana Design, the studio responsible for every modern-era Riva. “It is essentially a true connoisseur’s boat. In a nutshell, it is chic, and that is the whole logic behind it.”

Mauro Micheli, chief designer and co-founder of Officina Italiana Design, agrees. “It is certainly a boat with a very different character to its siblings” because of the LOA and four decks, he explains, “but references to Riva’s signature styling are a constant.”

That styling is well-known and detailed. For instance, Hull No. 1, Race, shows off varnished mahogany and stainless-steel handrails, complementing the metallic painted surfaces. Even the yacht’s wing stations have these handrail details. The richness of the high-gloss wood serves as a reminder that “artisanal craftsmanship is at the very core of each project,” Micheli asserts. “The handrails are the fil rouge [French for common thread] of the yacht.”

Further to the styling’s influences, Micheli mentions the Caravelle line, conceived in 1964. Its uncluttered, simple elegance inspired the team working on the 50-Meter. Though more angular than today’s yachts, the Caravelle had long lines and a proud bow—two timeless characteristics.

“They are the kind of lines that don’t necessarily set out to dazzle but still capture attention with their sheer simplicity,” Micheli says.

For the Riva 50-Meter, the studio focused on classic yet sleek lines. “Race has a great personality,” he says. “She has three straight lines that define each level. The design is clean. We refuse overworked, elaborate and redundant lines.”

Amid these lines are some of the owner’s particular requests. “He wanted lots of light and to enjoy the external panoramas,” Micheli says. While every Riva—indeed, every large yacht—these days incorporates large glass ports, Race’s owner felt it was especially important for the 50-Meter to have them, notably along the main and upper decks. Additionally, in an interesting twist on an indoor-outdoor area, the covered alfresco dining area aft on the upper deck has slide-open glass to each side.

In terms of the open alfresco areas, meanwhile, the owner wanted a front-row seat for when he was approaching shorelines. This explains why Race has cozy seating and viewing spots at the bow and up on the sun deck. Yet another request outside, for similar reasons: a walk-around hot tub and sun pads aft on the upper deck. The owner envisioned standing back here as Race entered a marina and tied up stern-to.

Inside is a relatively customary arrangement, with accommodations for 10 to 12 guests in five staterooms: a main-deck master and four guest staterooms below. However, the owner did request that the galley go belowdecks, with a dumbwaiter connecting it to each of the upper levels. The relocation of the galley permitted more room for the master stateroom.

With Hull No. 2 in the 50-Meter series under construction, Riva is poised to make its mark in the superyacht sector. Larger models are coming too, with the biggest being the 90-Meter (295 feet).

And while Carlo Riva didn’t live to see the 50-Meter launch, having died at age 95 in 2017, there’s no doubt he’d be proud. “The first time that engineer Carlo Riva saw the renderings of the first Riva 50-Meter mega-yacht, he said, ‘I’d like to try and cruise on her,’” Micheli recalls.

Perhaps the once-determined heir to the family business is doing that in spirit.

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