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The shipyards and the history of Italian boats

In Italy, the recreational ship market, that is, of all boats with a length of more than 24 meters (including superyachts and megayachts) is a very profitable and interesting sector.

The peninsula, in fact, is a world leader in the construction of this type of boat, also because of the fact that it hosts on its territory some of the oldest shipyards, renowned and famous around the world.

Shipyard: what is it and differences with shipyard

Use “shipyard” and “shipyard” as synonyms is not entirely wrong; in fact, the terms “nautical” and “naval” have the same origin and, since the times of the ancient Romans, they were used ambiguously: Suffice it to say that the “naut” was both the sailor and the driver of a carriage.

Over time, then, the word “nautical” began to embrace other areas, such as airspace (aeronautics) or interplanetary (astronautics).

Currently, on the other hand, , shipyards are defined as structures where recreational vessels are built, repaired or restored, that is, all those boats used for sports and/or recreational purposes that have a hull at least 24 meters long (or rather, 79 feet).

As mentioned initially, Pleasure ships include not only yachts and yachts but also

Italy boasts a large number of shipyards born from the ingenuity, passion and courage of their founders who, even today, give life to nautical design projects branded Made in Italy using the best technologies and innovations. Here is i 10 main:

1. Benetti Shipyard

Founded in 1873 by Lorenzo Benedetti, the Cantiere Nautico Benedetti is one of the oldest manufacturers of luxury motor yachts, thus celebrating Italian excellence in the world.

Born initially as a builder of wooden boats, mainly used for local and national trade, but after the death of its founder and under the direction of his sons Gino and Emilio things change: After the end of World War II and the end of the demand for commercial ships, the shipyard began to focus on the production of steel pleasure boats, and then moved on to the construction of the first luxury yachts during the early sixties.

Cantiere Nautico Benetti

In 1985 the construction site was taken over by Azimut Spa, becoming a modern, cutting-edge and technologically advanced reality, so much so as to be known and recognized as a reference leader internationally.

2. Sanlorenzo Shipyard

The Cantiere Nautico Sanlorenzo was founded in 1958 in Viareggio by Gianfranco Cecchi and Giuliano Pecchia inside the shed of the former Canottieri Berchielli; here the first boats were built, whose production begins to expand at the end of the sixties.

Cantiere Nautico Sanlorenzo

In 1972 the shipyard was sold to Giovanni Jannetti, which takes the products to a higher level in terms of value, elegance, robustness, reliability and excellent interior space. In 1995, finally, with the SL 100, the shipyard becomes part of the main superyacht manufacturers.

In 1999 the company moved to Amegna, La Spezia and in 2005 it was bought by Massimo Perotti, which renamed it Salorenzo Spa. Since 2012 is divided into Cantieri Navali di Ameglia, which produces motor yachts in fiberglass with gliding hull from 62 to 108 feet and in Cantieri Navali di Viareggio, which produces shuttles in composite material with semi-displacement hull (92 to 122 feet) and metal superyachts (steel and aluminum) from 38 to 50 meters.

3. Shipyard CRN

The Cantiere Nautico CRN (acronym of Shipbuilding and Repairs) originated in 1963 in Ancona at the behest of the entrepreneur Sanzio Nicolini and, still today, is an icon of excellence, Italian style and elegance.

The production is based, initially, on steel and aluminum boats, the latter little used at the time to give more space to wood. The meeting between Nicolini and Carlo Riva in 1970 brought a positive turn for the company, which began its very personal production of luxury yachts.

Cantiere Nautico CRN

In 1983, in fact, the CNR realized the yacht F100, an innovative and avant-garde boat designed specifically for a passionate owner with very special tastes, that is Gianni Agnelli.

In 1999 the shipyard joined the Ferretti Group and, from here on, began work on the project “Magnifica”, a 43-metre superyacht launched in 2001. The fleet of the shipyard grows more and more, as well as its fame, up to the Chopi Chopi, launched in 2013 and became the largest yacht ever built by CNR in half a century of activity.

4. Azimut Yachts Shipyard

Azimut Yachts The Azimut – Benetti Nautical Shipyard specializes in the production of luxury yachts. It was founded in 1969 by Paolo Vitelli, a young university student who wanted to start a sailboat rental business.

In 1970 some prestigious brands in the nautical sector entrusted the company with the distribution of some of their boats on Italian territory and this marked a decisive turning point: Azimut went from simple destruction to the actual design of new yachts.

Cantiere Nautico Azimut Yachts

In 1985 Azimut acquired Cantiere Benetti, to which it imprinted its own style and technological choices, based on frameless windows, electric seats and the use of briars.

At the end of the Nineties, Azimut acquired other shipyards in Fano, took care of the restructuring of the Benetti shipyards in Viareggio and built a new plant in Avigliana, Turin, ensuring a place of absolute primacy in the production of yachts and superyachts.

5. Shipyard Perini Navi

The Cantiere Nautico Perini Navi is based in Viareggio and operates in the design and production of luxury sailing yachts. It was founded in the early eighties by the entrepreneur Fabio Perini that, inspired by the machinery used to wrap paper, invented a system of automatic winches driven by mechanically controlled electric motors that allowed Perini Navi to become the first company able to produce large boats manageable by a small crew.

Cantiere Nautico Perini Navi

After a rather difficult period, in 2017 enters the capital of the company Edoardo Tabacchi, which acquires 75% of the control and returns to the yard the prestige it has always deserved.

6. Shipyard Rossinavi

The brand Rossinavi originated in 2007 in Viareggio as the evolution of Fratelli Rossi, famous in the seventies for its excellent art in shaping metal. Currently, the shipyard is the only family-owned superyacht manufacturer which, over the years, has implemented a business policy based on quality rather than quantity: so far, in fact, it has produced only 17 yachts but all one-off, that is, designed and built to customer measure and, therefore, one different from the other.

Cantiere Nautico Rossinavi

The megayacht Numptia dates back to 2011, with a length of 70 meters and among the most important built in Viareggio.

7. Custom Line Shipyard

The Shipyard Custom Line is the evolution of the Ferretti flybridge fleet. Born in 1996, thanks to Ferretti’s thirty years of experience in the nautical field, he has managed to enter the world of the production of pleasure boats in fiberglass. Its main objectives have always been two in particular: to satisfy the requests of loyal customers and to win new ones especially in international markets.

The link with the historic Ferretti brand always remains well established, so much so that the logo itself offers a variant of the unmistakable “double F” that accompanies the words Custom Line.

Cantiere Nautico Custom Line

In 21 years of life, the shipyard has produced 180 ships that sail around the world, especially in Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. In recent years, Custom Line has also managed to conquer an important market share in America, the Far East and, in particular, in China and Hong Kong.

8. Shipyard Riva

Among the excellent representatives of Made in Italy in the nautical field, certainly stands the Cantiere Nautico Riva, historic manufacturer of motorboats. Its history began back in 1852 in Sarnico by the will of the shipwright Pietro Riva which, even today, remains a timeless myth of Italian boating.

Initially, the shipyard was dedicated only to repair and construction of work boats and it will be only thanks to the ingenuity of Pietro’s son, Ernesto, that the company will start investing in yachting building bigger and bigger boats.

Cantiere Nautico Riva

After the Second World War, Serafino Riva leads the shipyard in the production of high-performance wooden boats for motorboat competitions, many of which also manage to win highly prestigious trophies. In the Forties, Serafino is joined by his son Carlo who, in the years to come, will depart from his father’s philosophy to start his own: driven by a deep passion for boats, he will direct himself towards a serial and qualified production, bringing the name Riva to become a real synonym for luxury and quality design.

During the Fifties, the shipyard also landed in the USA, putting an end to the competition and becoming the main supplier of real families, movie celebrities, sports champions and businessmen.

In 1969, the yard was sold to the US brand Whittaker and, later, acquired by the British group Vickers. Only in 2000 joined the Ferretti Group, starting a new era, marked by determination and innovation. The last yacht of Riva is the Dolcevita, over 33 meters long.

9. Boatyard Baglietto

The Cantiere Nautico Baglietto was founded in 1854 as a modest activity of Varazze led by Pietro Baglietto, specialized in the construction of small boats. In 1888, Pope Leo XIII’s boat was built and in 1891 the yach Miss Mary became the champion of the regatta.

Cantiere Nautico Baglietto

During the First World War, Baglietto built the MAS (Armed Torpedo Boats), real assault vehicles designed specifically for the Italian Navy. In the Forties, in fact, the shipyard focuses all its attention on the construction of military boats, and this collaboration will help it develop a technological competence that will bring it numerous profits in the post-war period.

With the advent of marine plywood, in the sixties, on the construction site makes a further leap in quality by making lightweight aluminum alloy hulls. Later, became a reference producer for well-known personalities such as Giacomo Puccini, Vittorio Emanuele III, Gianni Agnelli, Angelo Rizzoli, Mike Buongiorno and Virna Lisi.

Currently, the ownership of the shipyard is in the hands of the Gavio Group, a family-run multinational that has given the historic brand a whole new face, characterized above all by the best cutting-edge technologies in the marine industry.

10. Tankoa Shipyard

The Tankoa Yachts S.p.A. is an Italian shipyard of luxury megayachts in steel and aluminum from 50-90 meters long. It was founded in 2007 by a former management team of Baglietto Yachts and immediately began to build yachts longer than 65 meters.

Cantiere Nautico Tankoa Yachts

Currently, the Tankoa Shipyard is located in Sesti Ponente, Genoa, exactly in front of the new marina designed by Renzo Piano; it consists of two huge sheds, which work according to high international standards and ride the Lloyd’s Register and RINA rankings. The last born in the Tankoa house is from 2018, it is called Solo and is 72 meters long.

Copertina: elle decore

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