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From small hulls to superyachts: Baglietto’s 170-year story

25 June 2024 • Written by Hannah Rankine for Baglietto

From lifeboats and tenders to regatta winners, military vessels to superyachts, Baglietto’s fascinating history dates back to the mid-19th century. As the Italian shipyard celebrates its 170th anniversary, BOATdelves into its storied past.

Humble beginnings

In 1854, Pietro Baglietto started his dream of founding a historic shipyard by building small boats in his garden before moving the business to a dedicated facility in Varazze. Here, Baglietto expanded his vision beyond leisure craft to include racing boats. The shipyard's first racing vessel, a 7.5-metre cutter named Rosy, was launched in 1876, marking the beginning of a new chapter.

This initial foray into competitive yachting proved successful when another of Baglietto's creations, Miss Mary, became a regatta champion in 1891. This victory set the stage for a long winning streak for Baglietto boats in various competitions.

Baglietto’s reputation for quality and innovation quickly attracted the attention of prominent figures. In 1888, the shipyard was commissioned by a group of influential Genoese families to build La Barchetta, a yacht gifted to Pope Leo XIII.

WWI and adjusting production

As Baglietto ventured into the leisure yachting sector, a significant milestone was reached in 1906 with the construction of the 22-metre Giuseppina. Displacing 22 tonnes, Giuseppina was the largest private motor yacht in the world at the time, featuring an internal combustion engine that marked a pioneering advancement in yacht design. That same year, the shipyard also began constructing the world’s first hydrofoil boat.


The outbreak of the First World War saw Baglietto pivot its production to meet government demands, producing seaplanes for the Italian Royal Navy and the MAS, a sea-worthy, anti-submarine military motor boat. This engagement with military orders was a pivotal moment in the shipyard's history, as it facilitated the adoption of advanced technologies and techniques.

During this era, Vincenzo Baglietto served in the Air Force, enabling the shipyard to incorporate cutting-edge aviation designs and methods into their maritime projects. This cross-pollination of ideas significantly enhanced Baglietto’s engineering capabilities.

By 1923, Baglietto's reputation for excellence had attracted some of Europe's most influential figures. The shipyard's clientele included Spanish King Alfonso XIII, inventor Guglielmo Marconi and Italian King Umberto II. Renowned composer Giacomo Puccini named his Baglietto yacht Cio Cio San after the protagonist in his opera Madama Butterfly, while Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio christened his Baglietto yacht Alcyone in 1932.

Cio Cio San

A new vision

In 1951, Pietro Baglietto Junior took the helm of the shipyard, steering it in a new direction. Like his grandfather and uncle, Pietro Junior possessed a deep passion for design, which he infused into the company’s evolving vision. The post-war period was a turbulent period for the shipyard, but Baglietto managed to stay ahead of the curve by continuously integrating new technologies and construction techniques into their projects. The shipyard’s winning streak persisted into the 1950s. Notably, Twins II captured the Coppa Oro in Sandhamn, Sweden, followed by the Coppa di Francia in Geneva. Twins VI then continued the legacy by winning the Coppa d’Italia in Helsinki.

In 1960, Baglietto introduced the revolutionary marine plywood, significantly reducing the weight and increasing the efficiency of their yachts. Additionally, Baglietto was one of the first shipyards to conceptualise the aft deck as a living space, providing guests with a relaxing area – a feature that has become a standard in modern-day yacht design.

The 1970s saw further enhancements in the performance of Baglietto’s boats, driven by new technologies and improved designs. A prime example was the 26-metre Chato, which featured water jet propulsion and superior hydrodynamics, enabling it to reach impressive speeds of up to 62.5 knots.


Cementing Itself in the world of superyachts

Towards the end of the 20th century, Baglietto ventured into the burgeoning superyacht market, marking a significant milestone with the launch of the 46-metre Al Fahedi in 1986 – the largest yacht Baglietto had built to date.

In 1991, Baglietto revolutionised the fast planing hull Maffy Blue, designed by Italian designer Aldo Chichero. Launched in 1991, the 33-metre garnered industry acclaim for its fold-down transom and a full beam flybridge. Two years later, with the 30-metre Alba, Cichero set the trend for the late 20th century superyacht lines.

Maffy Blue

A pivotal development in Baglietto’s history occurred in 1994 with the start of a long-standing relationship with designer Francesco Paszkowski. This collaboration began with the 29-metre Opus, a yacht capable of reaching 40 knots. According to the shipyard, Paszkowski is the best interpreter of Baglietto’s DNA, having designed some of its most “iconic” yachts.

Innovation continued to be a hallmark of Baglietto’s offerings, as evidenced by the 42-metre Nina J in 2005, one of the first yachts to feature a green wall of plants, blending luxury with ecological considerations. In 2015, Baglietto unveiled the Fast planing line, its design remaining a signature in the industry today, underscoring Baglietto’s influence and adaptability in the superyacht market.

Nina J

Baglietto today

In 2012, Baglietto embarked on a new chapter when it was acquired by the Gavio family, one of Italy's most solid industrial family groups. This acquisition marked the beginning of a rejuvenated journey for the shipyard, blending its storied heritage with a fresh vision for the future.

Starting at the end of 2020, the merging of the two Gavio family’s European nautical brands, Baglietto and CCN, has contributed to the establishment of Baglietto as a leader in the superyacht industry.This is evident in the brand’s numerous accolades, including the 39.7-metre Club M, which won at the World Superyacht Awards and secured Best Interior Design at the Design & Innovation Awards in 2021. The shipyard continued to excel, with the 41.7-metre Rush winning at the World Superyacht Awards in 2023, followed by the T52 in 2024.
While still offering fully-custom manufacturing, the shipyard has expanded its product range with four distinct lines. Francesco Paszkowski Design, the Seagull brand's reference design firm for over twenty years, pencilled the steel and aluminium traditional displacement yachts of the TLine, the Fast Line with its high-performing, innovative yachts in aluminium alloy, and the brand-new project of an Explorer-Observer belonging to the XO Line. The modern and captivating aluminium cruisers of the DOM Line, featuring the fortunate 40m DOM133 and the new 35m entry-level DOM115, bear the name of Stefano Vafiadis.


In 2023, Baglietto launched its ambitious BZero initiative, a RINA-certified project aimed at producing hydrogen from filtered and deionised seawater. This initiative is expected to be implemented on board yachts by 2026. Baglietto's commitment to sustainability reflects its forward-thinking ethos, as the shipyard strives to pioneer new technologies that enhance environmental responsibility without compromising the luxury superyacht experience.

For more information on Baglietto, contact the shipyard today.