Video: Inside the exclusive Azimut Benetti Yachting Gala XI

6 July 2018 • Written by Risa Merl

The Azimut Benetti Group welcomed more than 700 guests for the eleventh edition of its Yachting Gala in Puglia, Italy 22-24 June.

Azimut and Benetti yacht owners and their friends were treated to a marvellous events programme, which, of course, included testing out Azimut yachts in the waters off Puglia. The picturesque harbour in the village of Monopoli hosted 14 yachts on show, set against the backdrop of an ancient castle built in the 1500s.

Attendees gathered from far and wide to attend the gala, hailing from America, the UK, Russia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, Italy and more – a list which showcased the international reach of the Italian yacht builder.

Over the years, the Azimut Benetti Yachting Gala has been held in many stunning locations, from Capri to Porto Cervo. “This year, we wanted to do something different and really special,” says Azimut Yachts CEO Marco Valle. “Puglia is an ideal spot, but also one that not many people know about, so if you can introduce people to a beautiful place in the world they’ve never been, there’s added value. We wanted to create a very international event in a really local place.”

The gala began with a cocktail party held in the village of Monopoli at the Castello Carlo V, with a private viewing of an art exhibit of Joan Miro inside the castle walls.

Over the weekend, guests were welcomed to the portside village where the yachts were on display and could be toured or sea trialed. Beyond the Azimut yachts on display, entertainment ranged from pop-up shops by prestigious Italian clothing and jewellery designers to gaming tables for guests to try their luck at blackjack or roulette. The music played and drinks flowed, creating a festive atmosphere.

The Yachting Gala was also the occasion of the exclusive debut of the new Azimut Yachts S6, which will make its public premier at the Cannes Yacht Show. The S6 shows Azimut’s continued focus on creating unique interiors.

Valle says that 50 per cent of the customers who attend the event are looking to upgrade their yacht now or within a year, and while the gala is not about sales, it gives their owners a chance to spend more time on board than a typical yacht show. “And you have all our technicians in attendance who you can talk to and ask questions,” he says.

On the evening of 23 June, the gala moved inland, taking over the piazza at the exclusive resort of Borgo Egnazia to hold a spectacular festival, which included the talents of local artisans, dancers and performers. An amazing dinner highlighting the finest in traditional Puglian fare was held al fresco, culminating in a fireworks display and a disco after party with international DJs. Paolo and Giovana Vitelli, respectively Founder-President and Vice President of the Azimut Benetti Group did the honours of hosting this incredible evening.

Paolo and Giovanna Vitelli during the Azimut Yachting Gala festivities

“The strength of the company is continuity,” says Valle. “The founder is still working with the company, and there has been very little changeover over the years. I myself have been here since 1996, and many others have been here fifteen, twenty, thirty years. It’s like being part of a family.”

It’s this family atmosphere that the Azimut Benetti Group wants to create for its owners and for all who attend the Yachting Gala. “Hosting the Azimut Benetti Yachting Gala is a reason for everyone to come together and be a big family,” says Valle. “It gives our community a special experience.”