Is there a better expression of Italy than this lissom, glossy hull designed for pleasure? In a Riva, form is strictly related to function. If, that is, you define function in terms of frolicking with walnut brown ragazzas on the Mediterranean littoral or the Italian lakes. Just saying “Aquarama” is seductive: it sounds more like a romantic proposition than a name.
This boat may be the most decadent and evocative product ever made, a weirdly potent cocktail of Detroit in the 1950s (when consumption knew no limits) and Italy’s long moment of la dolce vita (when even saucepans and coffee machines were sexualised with lascivious shapes). With its twin 400hp American V8 engines, a Riva Aquarama was a glorious affront to nautical etiquette.
It is the ultimate consumer fantasy: a proposition that suggests the sky is wide open and blue, that summer never ends and that lust can be described in terms of cleats and varnish. By Stephen Bayley
Riva Aquariva Super, €518,000 (ex tax), riva-yacht.com