#humansofyachting – Lia Riva
The Riva family’s boatbuilding legacy dates back to 1842, but it was in the 1950s that their sleek mahogany pleasure crafts really hit the spotlight, with glamorous owners including Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren. Lia Riva talks about growing up in a family with boating in their blood.
“My family have been building boats on the shores of Lago d’Iseo for almost 200 years, so growing up around boats has always felt perfectly natural to me. Living in Sarnico meant that, as a child, I’d be on the water all the time, I had absolutely no fear and it was a childhood filled with great experiences. I really do feel lucky that I was born into such an industry – I could easily have been bought up around something far less interesting.
Lia and her father, Carlo Riva
I have definitely inherited my family’s passion for boats, as well as their passion for doing things well and valuing quality. I wasn’t ever expected to join the family business and actually I loved art too, but at a certain point in my life, working at Riva made perfect sense. Over the years the brand has had some difficult times but today, with Ferretti and Chinese ownership, things are better. The Riva design ethos is still the same, and the boats still retain that essential Italian flavor.
I think nostalgia means that I will always have a soft spot for the Riva Aquaramas – I have one myself now. The wood, the lines, the special noise of the engine – it all feels like home to me. We used to go on family holidays every year to Sardinia, Sicily and of course, Greece, which was my father’s favourite. We’d be in a bigger boat but we always used to have an Aquarama with us too and it would invariably attract all the attention, as it was so much more beautiful.
The Riva family
My father taught me to work hard and be passionate. He was a bit of a visionary and always tried to innovate and do things differently. At the moment I am very interested in electric engines on the Riva boats. I really hope it’s something that will happen in our future. I also hope in a way that there is return to smaller boats. Obviously they keep getting bigger and bigger, but there is something special about a smaller, perfectly finished Riva.”