Riva now has its own 300-square-metre exhibition room in the MBL Lake Como International Museum of Vintage Boats.


Located in Pianello del Lario, the MBL Lake Como International Museum of Vintage Boats is home to over 400 historic crafts and has a history as interesting as its exhibits. Small, wooden boats have always been an integral part of Como living. Lakeside families even went as far as building their own craft, resulting in a boatbuilding tradition that was passed down from father to son. That was until the 1970s when the popularity of fibreglass hulls put an end to wood. The historic boats of Lake Como increasingly fell into disuse, with many left rotting in docks, or even chopped up for firewood.


At the end of the 70s, a group of friends set up an association with the goal of rescuing the last of the lake’s classic boats. The small collection was housed in a historic spinning mill and steadily grew over the years. Now the 400 boats, 300 outboards, 200 books and countless period photographs are housed in 9400 square metres of exhibition and storage space with over 8000 square metres of gardens to explore.

For classic boat enthusiasts, there are over 400 historic boats in the collection including rowboats, gondolas, fishing, hunting and smuggling boa


The latest addition to the museum is a 300-square-metre space dedicated to the prestigious motorboats built on Lake Iseo. Architect Paolo Albano designed the room in conjunction with Riva, taking the visitor on a journey through time from the 1930s to the period epitomised by ‘La Dolce Vita’. It represents a tribute to Serafino Riva, famous for moving the brand away from transport and into powerboating, and his son Carlo Riva, who skilfully turned the brand into a luxury name.

It represents a tribute to Serafino Riva, famous for moving the brand away from transport and into powerboating.

The museum’s collection features several special models with HaLu being of particular interest. Built in the 1930s, when Serafino was still at the helm, HaLu is probably one of the oldest and best-preserved vintage Rivas in the world. Alongside HaLu are two Series R models (the first to be built on a small production line), a Guzzi engine’d racer, a Riva Florida trimmed in a special Scottish Madras, and a series of traditional moulds used to produce hulls are also on show.

Currently, the museum is closed, as the exhibition rooms are being renovated, but doors will open once again in April.

Check en.museobarcalariana.it for opening updates.