Italian Classics: The ‘Myth’ Behind Riva Aquaramas

During Italy’s post-war boom years, Riva’s glamorous wooden boats were the pinnacle of “la dolce vita” – the Ferraris of motorboats, owned by movie stars, tycoons and royalty. Correspondent Seth Doane takes a spin on the water in a classic Riva; checks out a new edition of the famed Aquarama boat; and learns how the company is working to keep Riva’s spirit alive.

Alberto Galassi is raving about his Riva, a 1970 wooden Aquarama, formed of cedar from Lebanon and mahogany. The CEO of the Ferretti Group, which now owns the Riva boat brand, he took correspondent Seth Doane on a ride on Italy’s picturesque Lake Iseo, racing past Riva’s factory.

“Riva is beyond boating; Riva is a myth,” Galassi said of the classic Riva speedboats, which have been in the hands of royalty, movie stars, rock stars and tycoons. “Let’s be honest. I mean, when you say, ‘I have a Ferrari,’ you need to say you ‘have a car’? Everybody knows what a Ferrari is. Riva is the same thing.”

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