Riva History

Rivas history dates back to 1842 when Pietro Riva began building boats at Sarnico, a small Northern Italian town on the shores of Lago d’Iseo.


Photograph courtesy of 'Carlo the Legend, Riva the Myth'

Carlo Riva

By the 1930’s, by which time the business was managed by Pietro’s grandson Serafino, the Company was a leading manufacturer of small racing boats.  In the 1950’s Serafino’s son Carlo transformed the business.  After a considerable struggle with his father to realise his ambitions, he created wooden boats of such exceptional style and elegance that they surpassed anything his competitors produced.



Photograph courtesy of 'Carlo the Legend, Riva the Myth'

Jet Set

In due course the Riva brand became a worldwide legend courted by screen stars, royalty and businessmen alike – famous owners included Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers and many more besides. Today a classic Riva is not only an object of desire, but a unique slice of nautical heritage, encapsulating as it does, the style, wealth and extravagance of the 50’s and 60’s jet set.

Photograph courtesy of 'Carlo the Legend, Riva the Myth'

Design icon

A classic Riva boat is a design icon, a moving sculpture in wood, chrome and glass which commands attention wherever it goes.  Add to this the long list of famous owners, and an association with exotic locations such as Monaco and St Tropez, and it is no wonder the Riva name, over time, has become a legend.