The Italian brands every owner needs on their superyacht


The long heady days of the Mediterranean season may have passed but, even if you're not whiling away an afternoon on the terrace of an Amalfi Coast hotel, there's always room for a little dolce vita wherever you are. From iconic Italian cycle and boat brands to world-famous fashion, fragrance and jewellery companies creating the products for which the country is known best, here is the essential guide to mastering effortless Italian elegance.


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 (exc. tax),

Campagnolo, Colnago & Passoni

To the cycling enthusiast the maglia rosa, Campagnolo and Colnago – with its “ace of clubs” logo – are icons one and all. Those spectacular mountain passes Passo dello Stelvio, Passo del Mortirolo and Passo di Gavia offer pain, suffering and glory in equal measure to Giro d’Italia competitors. Then there are the Italian cyclists – Fausto Coppi, Gino Bartali, Felice Gimondi and the flawed genius of Marco Pantani are heroes in their homeland and giants of the sport.

It’s no surprise then that Italian brands are at the heart of cycling history and many of the world’s most coveted products are still lovingly created by Italian artisans. In a world dominated by global companies pumping out mass produced bikes, Italian family-owned businesses maintain a tradition of exclusivity and flair with a sense of history.

The ideal number of bikes you should own is n+1, where n equals the number you currently own. Every boat needs more than one bike. Campagnolo (pictured) will have to be the groupset on whatever you choose. Then it’s the perfect carbon race bike, the Colnago C60, for the mountains, and a silky smooth, custom-made titanium Passoni for those wonderfully long all-day rides. By Tony Harris

Colnago C60, £3,499,; Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset, POA,; Passoni Top Genesis, POA,


To the uninitiated the name Billionaire Italian Couture may seem ostentatious, but delve deeper and you’ll see just how well founder Flavio Briatore understands the lifestyle of today’s international jet set.

The Formula One mogul launched the brand in 2005 and it offers chic casualwear that is perfect for stepping off a long flight (private jet, of course) or on to a yacht for the weekend. The latest collection comprises impeccable tailoring with bold, quintessentially Italian stylistic touches – from ornate embroidery to eye-catching patterns. At the heart of the range is also a dedication to practicality. Its lambskin bomber, with micro-hole detailing cut out with a laser, is the perfect example of the combination of fashion and function. “Comfort and lightness are paramount for the Billionaire man,” explains the brand’s creative director Michael Ködel. By Eleanor Pryor


Acqua di Parma

No scent is more robustly and classically Italian than the original Acqua di Parma Colonia fragrance. This light, fresh cologne of Sicilian citrus fruit, lavender, bergamot and Bulgarian rose has remained unchanged since 1916 when it was created in a tiny artisan laboratory in Parma. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the heady German perfumes in vogue at the time and soon became associated with the well-dressed elite. Hollywood stars Cary Grant, David Niven and Audrey Hepburn were all devotees, heightening the brand’s prestige. Acqua di Parma Colonia celebrated its centenary last year and is still made with the same dedication that earned its initial success. By Bella Dickie

Colonia Eau de Cologne spray, £91 for 100ml,

La Perla

Todd Marchard

Lingerie has long had a reputation for being a French fancy but the Italians know a thing or two about it, too. Renowned corset maker Ada Masotti founded La Perla in Bologna in 1954, combining the city’s silk and textile heritage with her knowledge of where to lift and sculpt. Her creations were presented in boxes lined with velvet, as if they were jewels, giving rise to the company’s name – the pearl. To channel your inner Gina Lollobrigida or Claudia Cardinale – whether on shore or on deck – try one of its black bodysuits. By Natasha Daniels

La Perla bodysuit, from £215,

Giampiero Bodino

If you’re looking for the unique, alluring and utterly original then Giampiero Bodino is the jeweller to call. Cutting his teeth at Bulgari and then as the art director of the Richemont Group, with brands including Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, luxury is second nature to the talented Italian – as is evident in every hand-crafted sea-inspired jewel from his eponymous brand.

Based on one-off commissions and themed collections centred around Bodino’s personal inspirations, his pieces are, in his own words, “based on classical elements but with a modern twist”. Take, for example, Bodino’s Tesori del Mare (Treasures of the Sea) collection, inspired by his life on the Ligurian and Adriatic coasts. Brilliant aquamarines, opaque red corals and deep black Tahitian pearls come together in a riot of colours on pieces forming everything from a coral reef to a seahorse.

For those whose nautical pleasures lie above, rather than below, the ocean’s surface the Rosa dei Venti (Wind Rose) collection is perfect. Aesthetically somewhere between medieval and art deco in style, pink gold bracelets, chokers and rings are studded with a rainbow of sapphires, amethysts and diamonds in a geometric pattern based on a ship’s compass. By Zoe Dickens

Tesori del Mare and Rosa dei Venti collections, all POA,

Stefano Ricci

Since founding its luxury yacht division in 2012, interior design brand-to-know Stefano Ricci Home has decked out some of the world’s most lavish boats. The brand is synonymous with the finest Italian craftsmanship thanks to its dedication to a “100 per cent Made in Italy” philosophy. Pieces in its crystal line are intricately decorated and made from the highest quality glass. The Royal Chisel and Cashmere collection is particularly unique. Once the design has been hand-drawn, it’s engraved with an artisan stone bur to create a beautiful opaque effect, which contrasts brilliantly with the clear crystal and looks fabulous in the dining saloon. By Jemima Wilson

Royal Chisel and Cashmere crystal, POA,

Giuseppe Zanotti Design

If you talk to Giuseppe Zanotti about decks, he won’t think first of boats but of DJing. The designer, who comes from San Mauro Pascoli, a small town near Rimini famous for shoe manufacturing, was a keen DJ in the 1980s.

But a passion for art, design and fashion, combined with the craft history of his native town, led him into a career as a women’s shoe designer. Zanotti worked first for small artisanal shoemakers by day, while still spinning records at night, before graduating to the likes of Thierry Mugler, Missoni, Fendi, Roberto Cavalli and Valentino. He has amassed many fans in the world of entertainment. Today that means men, too. Any onboard journey will surely be enhanced by Zanotti’s Kriss high-top trainers for him. Check out his bags, accessories, jewellery and clothing for more of the Zanotti spirit. And if you ask nicely, he might even come and DJ at your next boat party. By Peter Howarth

The Kriss high-top sneakers, from £505,


As horological success stories go, Panerai’s is more remarkable than most. Originally a maker of military optical equipment, the Florentine company was commissioned to create a series of watches for the Italian navy during the 1930s and went on to develop several unique models designed for diving, with highly luminous dials, waterproof cases and patented crown-sealing levers.

By 1970, however, Panerai’s watch operation had become dormant. It resumed small-scale production in 1993 with a civilian range that (so the story goes) attracted the attention of actor Sylvester Stallone. His influence helped revive interest in the brand, which was bought by luxury goods giant Richemont in 1997 and the company is now helmed by CEO Angelo Bonati. Panerai has since developed a cult following with a series of watches that have, largely, remained true to the design ethos of the originals.

The Luminor Submersible 1950 Flyback, pictured here, features a case, dial design and crown-locking mechanism that can be traced back to the 1950s, although the standard of quality, fit and finish is much better today than it was 60 years ago. The watch uses Panerai’s P.9100 movement and is available with a 47mm case in steel or titanium. There is also a special Regatta version, which has an additional pre-race start timing function. By Simon de Burton

Luminor Submersible 1950 Flyback, £13,100,

Maserati, Ferrari & Fiat

When it comes to having the best new supercar to complement your yacht, tradition dictates that they should come from Italy. Since the dawn of the playboy era, Maseratis and Ferraris have been synonymous with the Riviera lifestyle thanks to their looks, their statement-making presence and their suitably high price tags. And what’s more, they’re now reliable and don’t rust.

  1. For collecting guests from the airport – you’ll need a Maserati Levante (pictured), the new SUV from the famous Trident marque. Choose from petrol or diesel, and load up on extras such as a leather and silk interior by Ermenegildo Zegna. With four-wheel drive and up to 425hp on tap, it will cross continents and pull a hefty tender up the steepest of slipways.
  2. For heading to the hills after docking – you’ll need Ferrari’s somewhat brilliant California T. Its gorgeous drop-top looks and 560hp V8 engine belie a surprisingly practical supercar – with a top speed of 190mph. The chassis is sharp, too, making it ideal for climbing from sea to mountain.
  3. For hitting the town in Porto Cervo – you’ll need a “baby” Fiat. Go for a souped-up version of the modern-day 500 (such as the TAG Heuer-Abarth limited edition designed by Lapo Elkann) or take the vintage route with a Fiat 600 Jolly. Designed by Ghia, the doorless Jolly’s canvas top and wicker seats make it the cutest car in the marina. Good models can command £60,000. By Simon de Burton

Maserati Levante, from £54,000,; Ferrari California T, from £153,345,; Abarth 595C Competizione, from £19,890,

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