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Riva museum of Vintage Boat

For enthusiasts and the public at large, iconic international yacht brand Riva, in partnership with Fondazione Museo Barca Lariana, opened a new 300-square-metre exhibition room in late 2021 at the MBL Lake Como International Museum of Vintage Boats in Pianello del Lario, dedicated to the prestigious motorboats built on Lake Iseo. 

On display are seven jewels from the storied Sarnico-based shipyard.
The room at the MBL, designed by architect Paolo Albano in tandem with Riva, takes the visitor on a journey through time from the 1930s to the incredible period epitomised by “La Dolce Vita”, when the Aquarama’s unmistakable lines brought Italian style to the world of yachting and the international collective imagination. It represents a tribute to Serafino Riva, famous for his high-speed racing boats, and his son Carlo Riva, who skilfully turned the brand into an international symbol and an object of desire loved by film stars, aristocrats and sports champions alike.

Riva Sebino

The museum’s collection also boasts several truly special models: HaLu is a Riva from the 1930s when Serafino was still at the helm of the shipyard. HaLu is probably one of the oldest and best preserved vintage Rivas in the world. The two Riva Series R models, the first to be built on a small production line, are from a few years later, as is the very rare racer fitted with Guzzi engines. Also on show is a Riva Florida with special Scottish Madras upholstery. Visitors can also admire a series of traditional moulds used to produce hulls. 

The Riva permanent show

The Museum bookshop will also showcase the refined Riva Brand Experience collection, ranging from clothing and unique accessories to design objects and original collectibles, to keep a reminder with you, wherever you are, of the sea and Riva’s legendary story. The latest new products available in the bookshop include “Riva In The Movie”, a priceless book that tells the story of more than 50 films in which Riva yachts have played an important and often a leading role alongside movie stars from around the world. The close relationship between the Riva legend and the seventh art is celebrated not only by the book but also by the powerful short film “Riva In The Movie”, with a masterful performance by Pierfrancesco Flavino, which was presented at the 77th Venice International Film Festival and is being screened at the Museum. 

The Riva in the movie book

The room dedicated to Riva, created in partnership with the Fondazione Museo Barca Lariana, reminds visitors of the origins from which the legend has grown. Born in Laglio in 1822, Pietro Riva left his hometown for Sarnico, on Lake Iseo, to help the local fishermen after a violent storm completely destroyed their fleet. The Riva family returned to Lake Como only 130 years later, with the opening of the Colombo dealership, the exclusive distributor of Riva motorboats which are still built only in Sarnico and nowhere else. 

The Riva in the movie book

Lake Como, one of the most enchanting places to explore on board a Riva, has always been a haven for pleasure boating, recognising the historical fact that it was Carlo Riva, and no one else, who built up the centuries-old history of this unique and inimitable brand that in 2022 celebrates its 180th anniversary. 

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