Ariston, Florida, Sebino, Acquarama.. for those who love the sea, the Italian style, and the beautiful things, these names immediately evoke the wooden bodies of the most beautiful luxury motorboats that the history of boating has ever known, the water’s jewels that have always carried around the world one of the most reconceived figures of Made in Italy: Carlo Riva, a legend that has always meant a lot to me.
That day at the Genoa Boat Show, it may have been the fatigue of the end of a day full of commitments and appointments, but something happened that was, in its own way, bizarre and amusing.
I noticed, among the crowd all around my stand, a distinguished person, with a beautiful smile, raising his hand several times to seek my attention.
After waiting patiently in line, he showed me his business card, which I pretended to read since tiredness did not allow me to realize who the person in front of me was.
After a series of praises, he selected some items: however my company does not sell to the public, and I told him that. He asked me: “Madame, are you sure you don’t know me? “I’m sorry, I really don’t think I know you, I only know one Carlo Riva, and he is the father of the Italian nautical world…”
Before I realized the gaffe, I found myself enveloped in an affectionate hug mixed with a reassuring smile, watched by deep eyes filled with tenderness.
My embarrassment was tangible, and I tried to bubble an apology, but the engineer stopped me, saying:
“Don’t worry, your smile is enough.”
Next, I received a letter describing the importance of smiling, but still, it was not enough to prevent me from making another gaffe.
The following year at my stand in Genoa, I found myself in the same situation: a beautiful person in the crowd was seeking my attention, and, I am embarrassed to write this, for the second time I did not recognize the engineer: “Excuse me, do you have a store?”
With a wonderful smile, he replied: ” I do not have a store: I only have a harbor, but in order to work with you and be recognized, I decided to buy it.”
Everyone, including the customers crowding the stand, burst into loud laughter.
The engineer hugged me and invited me to his studio in Sarnic to decide on purchases.
The emotion experienced in that studio in front of Carlo Riva cannot be described: I listened to his every word and observed every object that he was surrounded by.
His simplicity and his love for beauty went straight to my soul.
Thanking me for the visit, he gave me the wooden box he kept on his desk.
He personally invited me to the first edition of RIVA DAYS, and I remember his enthusiasm and the pleasure of sharing this prestigious project.
He wrote me letters that I keep with deep affection, and his memory is indelible in my heart.
What a great privilege to have known this great man and to have been able to appreciate his wonderful smile: I don’t know what I would give to see him again, and this time I swear I would recognize him right away.