The name Piacere - 'pleasure' in Italian - reveals much about this custom-designed Rossinavi

Piacere exterior

Rossinavi’s 50-metre Piacere was built for light, life and longevity. Clare Mahon discovers how they packed it all in

It’s a bit of a chase to catch up with Federico Rossi, Rossinavi’s young and charismatic COO, but I finally manage to snag him in Fort Lauderdale via a video call. “Yesterday I had a couple of technicians in to give me an estimate on setting up some monitors for the new office we’re opening here. They quoted me $2,000 per day for a job that they figured would take two days. I said, ‘Want to see how easy it is to save $4,000?’” Rossi laughs as he moves the camera to show a wall of monitors, expertly set up with his own two hands.

This can-do attitude is part of what is giving the Italian shipyard Rossinavi standout status in the world of custom shipbuilding today. After years of building yachts commissioned to other shipyards based in the Tuscan shipbuilding hub of Viareggio, the Rossi family established their own brand when the second generation, headed by Federico, began working. They have never looked back and are increasingly looking across the Atlantic to the Americas: Rossi confirms that he isn’t in the Sunshine State to catch some rays – he’s getting closer to his client base. 

Piacere exterior

GIOVANNI MALGARINI Piacere is a long-range yacht with the amenities of a 60m in a 50m package. She has both Suez and Panama Canal tonnage certificates, and after cruising extensively in the Med and the Caribbean, the owners are considering navigating the entire coast of California from Baja all the way north

GIOVANNI MALGARINI Piacere is a long-range yacht with the amenities of a 60m in a 50m package. She has both Suez and Panama Canal tonnage certificates, and after cruising extensively in the Med and the Caribbean, the owners are considering navigating the entire coast of California from Baja all the way north

As is frequently the case for Rossinavi builds, the story behind the creation of the 50-metre steel and aluminium yacht Piacere begins in the US. Broker Javier Navarro of Mexico City-based Zarpo Yachts was touring the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show with an owner who, after having owned a series of fibreglass yachts, wanted to move up to steel and was thinking of doing his first custom build. “We were reviewing projects and interviewing designers looking for a timeless but contemporary design. When we met Horacio Bozzo we found a proposal that the owner and his family really liked,” Navarro says.

Piacere exterior

Bozzo’s project was named Lux for the amount of light that reaches both indoor and outdoor spaces. “An essential aspect of the owners’ brief was for scenic views and as much daylight as possible,” says Bozzo, an Argentinian yacht designer and naval architect who has relocated to Pietrasanta, a chic resort town near Viareggio. “The yacht’s name, Piacere, means pleasure in Italian and this explains the owners’ outlook fully: he wanted a yacht where he could enjoy the pleasure of family life. Piacere’s design is functional with clean, minimalist lines to stand the test of time but it’s also a yacht to live en plein air with large exterior areas designed to meet the needs of all ages. There’s a lot of glass in windows, bulwarks and railings to add personality to the yacht and brightness to the interior spaces.”

Piacere exterior
Piacere exterior
Piacere exterior
Piacere exterior
Item 1 of 4
Piacere exterior
Piacere exterior
Piacere exterior
Piacere exterior

Bottom right: the sundeck is a space to live all day long with a spa pool and, behind the glass wind break, a bar and large dining table under the hardtop. “The owners love outdoor living so the amount of outdoor space for a 50m yacht is really a lot,” says broker Javier Navarro.

Once the project and exterior designer had been nailed down, it was time to find a builder. After considering several northern European yards, Navarro had an intuition: “I wanted to introduce the owner to Rossinavi,” he says, “because of their build quality and customisation capability but also for something that is very important to the owners: the personal relationships that they build with their clients.” Luckily Rossinavi was at the boat show with the 62.6-metre motor yacht Utopia IV, so the intro was easy. “The owners loved Utopia IV both for the interiors and for the build quality,” Navarro says. Some will remember that the steel-hulled Utopia IV was involved in a collision with a tanker – and the tanker lost. “But mostly the two families clicked immediately. This interpersonal relationship was one of the most important drivers of the whole project. The family touch that you have with a shipyard like Rossinavi, the direct contact with the shipyard’s top management – the Rossi family themselves – without middlemen or go-betweens. It’s very nice to work that way. A real bond of trust was formed,” Navarro says. 

Enrico Gobbi of Team for Design, who designed the interiors of Utopia IV, was the final piece of the puzzle. Gobbi’s studio has collaborated frequently with Rossinavi on interiors, exteriors and often both together. Piacere is the first Bozzo, Gobbi and Rossinavi yacht. “It all started with the owner – the collaboration was his choice,” says Rossi. “It was a really close-knit team, with excellent synergy and dialogue on all sides and you can see it from the quality of the results.” 

Piacere interior

GIOVANNI MALGARINI Most of the interior furnishings on board Piacere are custom pieces, and there’s plenty of leather for a durable, luxurious touch

GIOVANNI MALGARINI Most of the interior furnishings on board Piacere are custom pieces, and there’s plenty of leather for a durable, luxurious touch

The owner began by inviting Rossi and Gobbi to his home so that they could get a better idea of how he and his family live, what they like and how they use their yachts. Gobbi remembers a warm welcome and was wowed by the whole experience. “When we took his boat out we even saw some whales,” Gobbi recalls. “But more than anything else, the trip gave us the chance to get to know the owners personally and build a rapport. They were very involved and always stressed that they wanted a yacht that would be welcoming, elegant and functional but not showy. The word that came up most often was ‘timeless’, because on top of using Piacere for extended cruising they intend to keep her for years.”

Piacere exterior
Piacere exterior
Piacere interior
Piacere exterior
Item 1 of 4
Piacere exterior
Piacere exterior
Piacere interior
Piacere exterior

Bottom left: with wide side decks on either side, the main saloon is a cosy space for intimate gatherings. Top left: the teak and resin armchairs that Gobbi selected for the main deck aft work perfectly with the teak cap rail that Horacio Bozzo designed to ground the exterior lines. Top right: the beach club. Bottom right: designer Enrico Gobbi used Rubelli and Armani/Casa fabrics and design pieces

In choosing materials Gobbi took into consideration factors that went beyond the owners’ brief. “I avoided fashionable materials and chose warm, classic walnut over bleached birch, for example, but I also had to consider that Horacio’s exterior design would let a lot of sunshine into the interior. I stuck with a lighter colour palette to avoid fading.” To meet the needs of the owners’ extended family, Gobbi also avoided delicate materials such as onyx and considered safety first and foremost for all aboard, especially children. “We were very careful to round off corners and to take all the precautions that would make the yacht safe without ruining her look,” Gobbi says. Luxury is nevertheless present in furnishings by top Italian design firms like Poliform and Minotti and in the lavish yet subtle use of leather – just open a drawer and inspect the lining to see.  

In the early stages of the build it was easy for the owners to calibrate details of the project, but the Covid-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works. For its part, Rossinavi overcame the difficulties with ingenuity: “We put samples in identical numbered envelopes and shipped one batch to the owner and kept another at the shipyard. Once the envelopes were delivered we would start a video call and open the envelopes together, almost like a game show,” Rossi laughs. When it came down to the myriad tiny details that come up during a build, that trip to see how the owners lived turned out to be a better idea than anyone had initially thought. “We had built such a good rapport of trust that the owners just said ‘go ahead, you know our taste and we have faith in you,’” Gobbi recalls.

Another stroke of luck was that the project managers, Serena and Nicola Nicolai of Nicolai Yacht Consulting, are Italian and could combine years of experience in all aspects of yacht building with proximity to the shipyard. During lockdown they became the owners’ eyes on site and kept them up to date with progress reports and video calls. “We always spend time with our owners to plan carefully because it’s better for both owners and shipyards to keep changes to a minimum once the build starts,” says Nicolai. “We had clear ideas on the owners’ needs and taste, and that came in handy as the build progressed and the owners remained stuck on a different continent.” 

From the start, the builder’s challenge was clear: big features on a mid-sized superyacht. “This is a real long-range yacht and has all the features that you used to find only aboard a 60-metre yacht,” says Rossi. “To offer amenities like a lift that runs from the lower deck to the sundeck, a real beach club and a large garage, you have to make the most of every minute space, be that for storage or for tech,” Rossi says. “You have to minimise the space between deck levels which on one hand is good because it keeps your centre of gravity low, but on the other it doesn’t leave much space to run systems. 

Item 1 of 3

Piacere was the perfect fit for our Zero Noise technology, which reduces noise and vibration from the engine room, but then the problem becomes the sound from the AC,” Rossi continues. “Getting a duct that’s large enough for the quantity of fresh air you need without subjecting the guests to a chilled blast requires a lot of pre-engineering. Believe me, it’s easier to build a 60-metre, 1,000GT yacht than a 50-metre yacht that’s under 500GT. At the yard we joke about it but it’s true – aboard Piacere we planned every space as if we were building an 18-metre sailing yacht.” 

One area where sound from the AC was no problem was on the yacht’s large flybridge. “Everyone that boards Piacere is amazed by the size of the flybridge and the owners have confirmed that they use it a lot,” Bozzo says. A close look at images reveals sliding glass doors mounted on the fore section of the hardtop. “At anchor a boat will align with the wind, and in the past clients would tell me that they didn’t use the fly all that much because it was too breezy up there. Since getting that feedback I have always created protection that you can adjust to catch as much breeze as you want. Since it’s not fully enclosed it doesn’t count for GT and it’s not climatised because you don’t need it. The hardtop over the enclosable area can also be opened so you can really enjoy the feeling of being outside,” Bozzo says.  

Piacere exterior

Even after Piacere was completed, launched and floating the pandemic still found ways to interfere: it was quite some time before travel restrictions were lifted and the owner and his family could finally have the piacere of boarding her. “I got an unexpected phone call from the owner one evening,” Navarro recalls. “‘Javier,’ he said, ‘I’m super happy, I’m enjoying my first glass of whiskey aboard and I am moved to tears.’ I could tell from his voice that he wasn’t kidding. The construction process had been challenging and now finally it was there, all happening and it was just fantastic.” 

“When the owner finally saw the boat he was so happy,” Rossi says. “He had been dreaming of it for such a long time – this large yacht for his whole family – and he loved it so much he basically spent the whole summer aboard and never disembarked. When you see a yacht being used like this it makes your day. It’s always kind of sad to see them sitting at a mooring.” 

Shortly after the owner got Piacere off her mooring, Rossinavi set sail with a dream of its own too. “Fort Lauderdale!” Rossi says. “During the pandemic this branch office was starting to seem like an impossible dream. Italy is the perfect place to build, but the Americas are a big part of our development plan because we really believe in this market.” And you can be sure that those plans will develop, because Rossinavi is the shipyard where the COO himself can do everything from inking contracts to installing monitors to building the yacht of your dreams, con piacere

First published in the August 2023 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

The yacht’s lift runs all the way up to the sundeck

An en-suite gym on the upper deck converts to a cabin for overflow guests

The upper saloon has a card table for game nights

A private study precedes the entrance to the owners’ cabin proper

The beach club includes a steam shower

Behind the beach club is more stowage for water toys

LOA 49.95m

2 x 1,081kW Cat C32

Beam 8.8m

3 x 99kW Cat C4.4 

Draught 2.45m

Speed (max/cruise)
15/12 knots

Gross tonnage

Range at 10 knots

Owners/guests 11
Crew 11

Fuel capacity
68,000 litres

Steel hull and

12,500 litres

Naval architecture
Arrabito Naval Architects

Viareggio, Italy

+ 39 0584 384227

Exterior styling
Horacio Bozzo Design

Interior design
Team for Design
Enrico Gobbi