A NAUTICAL LEGEND by HU GO MCCAF F E RT Y
Cast your eye over Port Hercule in Monte Carlo, one of the most iconic had been damaged by rocks. Stunned at the quality of the young Riva’s marinas in the world, and you’ll be instantly struck by the view of large workmanship, he convinced him to travel to Sarnico, on Lake Iseo, 43 superyachts; it’s a stunning reminder of the type of visitor to the principalmiles away, to repair other boats. The journey marked the young man’s ity and the prestige associated with docking in Monte Carlo. birth as a professional boatbuilder. However, the Riva has been the chariot of choice for the great and the The turning point for Riva was the beginning of mass production in glamorous when ferrying about Monte Carlo. The boat is ever-present the 1950s, coinciding with the postwar boom years in Italy, the rise of the along the Riviera and an integral Italian middle classes, and the bepart of Monaco’s modern maritime ginning of the search for la bella vita. history, but the brand also embodies The Ariston and Scoiattolo models key elements of the allure of the were designed at this time and were place, combining history with innoan instant success with actors, film vation, style with engineering, artistars, and celebrities, who began to sanal expertise with mass productake the Riva to their hearts. The tion—a sweetly packaged object of Aquarama, first realized in 1962, bedesire that promises la dolce vita. came instantly associated with the When George Clooney and glitterati of this period. Amal Alamuddin were married in The Riva appears in films such Venice, it was Riva boats that transas Mambo, starring Vittorio Gassman ported the groom and his A-list and Silvana Mangano, and the love guests down the Grand Canal in affair between Riva boats and cineVenice to the wedding dinner held at ma, both on-screen and off-screen, the Aman hotel, where his bride was continued into the ’60s and the dolce waiting. The photographs captured vita period. As Italians gravitated to the imagination of the world. the glamorous lifestyle of Saint-TroFashion is fickle, as they say, and pez, they brought with them the George Clooney on a Riva Aquarama wearing an Omega Seamaster. times change, but Riva is one of Riva, and it became an ever-present those great Italian brands that reprotagonist on the party circuit main impervious to changing trends, being rooted in the evergreen qualiamong the wealthy Italians who danced on tabletops in exclusive nightclubs ties of excellence in craftsmanship married with the height of technologiand partied all night on the southern coast of France. cal innovation. Heineken chose the Riva to star in its partnership with the As Monte Carlo established itself, it was natural for Riva to locate its new Bond film, Spectre, in its TV spot “The Chase,” a madcap homage to headquarters there, where it still operates today. “My father introduced James Bond chase scenes with Daniel Craig as Bond and a female watersome art and craftsmanship to the industry with the Tritone and Aquaraskier who unwittingly becomes a Bond girl. ma,” says Lia Riva of her father Carlo, Pietro’s great-grandson. “Just after The origin of the Riva shipyard goes back as far as 1842, when a fisherPrince Rainier married Grace Kelly, everyone spoke about Monaco. man in Lake Como asked 20-year-old Pietro Riva to repair his boat that It was natural that we came to set up our shop here.”
Scenes from “Heineken, the Chase” with Daniel Craig driving a Riva Tritone.
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Alessia Tedeschi on a Riva Aquarama Special.
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Clockwise from top: Prince Rainier III, Princess Grace, and their children, Caroline, Albert, and Stéphanie of Monaco in their Riva Tritone; Mr. Carlo Riva; portrait of Lia Riva in 2005; Monaco Boat Service.
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The lineage of the prestigious Riva company is today preserved, as Lia is president of the Monaco Boat Service (MBS), where you can berth your Riva at Port Hercule. You can also purchase Riva models through the MBS and have them serviced there. The Riva Aquarama, the most famous of Carlo Riva’s designs, became the chariot of choice on the scene in Monte Carlo and directly descended from the Tritone. Its signature was the bent and lacquered mahogany runaround, wraparound windshield, polished chrome fittings, and plush interior. Its twin engines supplied up to 400 hp per engine and were capable of reaching 50 knots. The harbor in Monte Carlo, latticed by the series of pontoons that Carlo first proposed to his friend Prince Rainier III in the ’60s, is now more than ever the home of yachting excellence worldwide. As Ms. Riva says, the dolce vita of the ’60s may be gone, but some things remain the same. If you love the sweet life, and beauty, and con-
struction, and have a little romance in your life, well, she says, “then you must have a Riva.” The name Riva remains as prestigious as ever, always chic, always cool. When you pass a Riva Aquarama docked in Monte Carlo, bobbing gently on water with her open cabin ever so inviting, she seems to call to you. “Come and play,” she says.
“If you love the sweet life, and beauty, then you must have a Riva.”
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