The air stewardess came over to talk to me like I’d done something wrong. “I’ve been asked by the captain…” she started. Uh-oh. We were approaching Gatwick, the lights of London twinkling far below, and I swear I had been the perfect passenger. People turned to look at my reddening face as, being English, I’m totally incapable of coping with any kind of “scene”. But I shouldn’t have worried. “… he wants to say congratulations, this is your 50th short-haul flight with us this year.” To many of our readers that may not seem like a lot of flying, but what made those 50 flights remarkable was that the vast majority of them were to Italy. I spend my life there. Viareggio. La Spezia. Genoa. Savona. Pisa. Venice. Milan. Turin. Trieste. Naples. Florence. Porto Cervo. If more people could start building superyachts in Palermo, I’d appreciate it; I’ve always wanted to see Sicily.
Italy is numero uno when it comes to superyachting. No other country even comes close in the number of boats on the water and in build. And long may it stay that way – I love it… everywhere except Pisa airport.
I think what makes it such a yacht-building success story is the powerful mix of manufacturing and design pedigree, which we celebrate this month. Our Boat Life section is devoted to the powerhouses of Italian style, companies that define not only how you dress but how you decorate your boats. Meanwhile, three of our four featured boats come from Italian shipyards. The biggest of these is the 46m Wider 150, Genesi. Pay attention, because this is genuinely new – it has no conventional engine room, for a start. It’s one of the many yachts vying for a gong at the World Superyacht Awards, which this year are in Florence. That’s another trip to Italy – but I’m not complaining.