Riva Historical Society

Piero Maria GibelliniCarlo RivaThe Riva Historical Society was created at the end of 1998. This non profit organisation was founded by Architect Piero Maria Gibellini (biographer of Carlo Riva and creator in 1996 of the Riva Historical Registry) along with Ingegnere Carlo Riva and a group of friends, admirers of the legendary figure of the Ingegnere.

The main objectives of the association are:

  • the conservation of the boats designed or built by Carlo Riva or, more in general, those that are part of his world and the conservation of the technical and cultural wealth that they represent;
  • the promotion and collection of research and studies;
  • the encouragement and the assistance for the conservation and restoration, in the full respect of the original criteria;
  • the registration of the boats of members in the RHS Registry

because they constitute an asset to Italian nautical history and hold an important position in international nautical culture.

For this purpose, the RHS intends:

  • to help the owners to maintain and restore their Riva runabouts in the best possible way and assist them in their needs;
  • to keep in touch with members through a periodical magazine, ''vivariva'' in English and Italian - with news, suggestions, information and the members’ mail - and through the internet and the media;
  • to help build and develop the RHS Chapters, as Clubs, Societies and Delegations, in the countries where there is a significant number of Riva owners;
  • to help build the friendship and interchange among the owners, all over the world, through the organisation of or participation at social meetings or international events;
  • to spread the knowledge of its activities through the media, thus getting the necessary visibility to reach the highest possible number of new members.

Also, many owners of vintage Rivas address their questions to the RHS because, thanks to the memory of Carlo Riva and the thorough research effected by its president, it is able to provide technically accurate answers. So the RHS gives an essential service for the conservation of vintage boats.

Another purpose of the RHS is to protect the mark ''Riva Days'' chosen by Carlo Riva for the more important gatherings of Riva Vintage and Classic Boats and, within the gatherings promote trials, respecting the age of the boats.

The RHS is the federation of the non profit clubs and societies which have signed the Statutes and who are members of it along with the Founder members and Senators.

The Riva Historical Society is

  • a member of the FIM – CONI (the Italian Motonautical Federation)
  • a member of the UIM (the International Motonautical Union)
  • affiliated to the American ACBS (the Antique and Classic Boat Society)
  • twinned with the American Chris-Craft Antique Boat Club
  • twinned with the French Cercle du Motonautisme Classique.
  • twinned with the Italian Vele Storiche Viareggio
The Riva Historical Society mark is registered.

At the end of 2007 the RHS membership exceeded 650, inscribed in the following 12 Departments: Club Riva de Catalunya - Riva Club de France - Riva Club Germany – Riva Club Lago Maggiore – Riva Club Norway - Riva Club Suisse – Riva Club Sweden – Riva Club U.S.A. - Riva Society GB – Riva Society Italia – Riva Society Nederland – Riva Swiss Society Geneve. There are delegations in Australia and Japan. Members are in 30 nations, in 5 continents, so RHS is today the only really international vintage boat association.

Thanks to the activity of the RHS, the owners have taken out of storage boats they had forsaken, giving them a new life and a new splendour. Many collectors of vintage cars or antiquities have started seeking abandoned boats, with the idea to restore beautiful objects the value of which is guaranteed by a strong, independent association. The promotional activity of RHS results in the enthusiasm of members, who are now planning to found 3 more Chapters.

Over 10 events per year, organised or patronised by the RHS and its Chapters, have shone the spotlight on the Riva mark again, as reflected in the main international nautical magazines.
The attention of photographers all over the world has focused on the Riva wooden boats, which have also been used as objects of desire in many prestigious publicity campaigns: in 2004 the Aquarama has been classified by the English magazine Motor Boat and Yachting as number 1 of the 100 best boats ever built (the photos in the article, by Keith Pritchard, were shot at our events).

The market has become lively with many international exchanges, both of boats and of spare parts and the value of Rivas has noticeably appreciated.
Thanks to its supporters the Association publishes its own quarterly magazine, “vivariva”, over 2000 copies are printed and distributed all over the world. The traditional Photographic Calendar has become one of the most exclusive and sought after collectors items.