Riva Yachts – an Italian Legacy!


Riva is world renowned for its’ first-class yachts. The style, the elegance, the emotion that Riva creates are all unmistakable. However, it wasn’t always this way…

Riva yachts had humble beginnings. Humble, however, doesn’t mean boring or normal…


It was 1842 an Northern Italy had just been through a devastatingly powerful storm, a storm which destroyed most of the boats on Lago Iseo (among other places). At that time the grand majority of the boats on the lake were not pleasure boats, rather fishing boats. Boats that meant the livelihood and well being of many fishermen and their families.

With their boats destroyed and their livelihood threatened the fishermen and their families were in shock, not knowing what to do. It was then that the young Pietro Riva saw an amazing opportunity. He saw opportunity to help his community, to do something truly great, to pave his path in life and to not only become accepted in his new community but to become a leader!

Pietro Riva had recently moved to Lake Iseo from the town of Laglio and as a young craftsman hadn’t gained much respect with the locals up until that point. However, Pietro immediately got to work and quickly gained the respect and admiration of the grateful locals.

So the legend began…

Riva Boats quickly distinguished themselves for their personality and style. The boatyard grew in size and quality, becoming a very successful family run business.

Pietro’s son Ernesto showed the same willingness for innovation when he introduced internal combustion engines on the boats. This step really distinguished them and helped the business flourish!

With internal combustion engines Riva went on to produced both large passenger and cargo boats that where well used on the lake for many decades, however, it was in the 1920’s that the successful boatyard found its true destiny!


It was in the 1920’s that Riva started producing power-boats. At the time this was a relatively new and daring idea, one in which Riva excelled! The stylish racing yachts that Riva produced went on to win many competitions, first national and then international.

In the 50’s Carlo Riva took the reins of the family business. Carlo had been born into the world of Italian boat making and he had a true passion for it! He ensured that the elegance, style, status and all-out perfection of Rivas yachts would not only continue but excel under his reign.

Thanks to this passion Carlo made sure that attention was given to every detail, the boats that resulted caught the eye of aristocrats, celebrities and other successful personages. The fame of Riva’s beautiful wooden yachts was also spread thanks to being featured in several Hollywood films, not to mention the paparazzi’s pictures of movie stars enjoying their personal yachts!



Riva continued to make wooden yachts right up until 1996 when fiberglass took over. Fiberglass hulls, which started to be experimented with by Riva in 1969, allowed for even more specialized hulls and performance.

Riva continues to produce yachts worthy of the name and the legend behind them. They continue to excel in elegance, style, and all-out perfection that you would expect from such and iconic Italian company!