Checking another box off on my bucket list, I attended the Historic Grand Prix Races at Monaco in May of 2016. Monaco is famous for its Grand Prix races and I was excited to see the race and all the great cars, but I was drawn to the fabulous boats in the harbor as well. Dozens of boats and large yachts are docked next to the track and near one of the race paddocks during the race. I mentioned my affection for Riva boats to a friend, knowing that there had to be more than a few in Port Hercule, one of the world’s wealthiest and exclusive marinas. “Are you going to the reception at the Riva Tunnel?” my friend asked. Riva Tunnel? I had no idea what or where it was but I knew I wanted in. My friend emailed me the link and I secured a media pass. This is something I had to see.
The Riva Tunnel has been the home of the Monaco Boat Service since 1959. It was created by burrowing for two years through rock under the Grimadi Palace, and holds about 100 boats. Riva is the maker of one of the most expensive, exclusive and beautiful lines of boats ever created. Vintage models are coveted and highly prized by collectors today. During the Grand Prix, a paddock full of priceless vintage race cars is temporary located directly in front of it. The tunnel is lined on both sides with classic Riva boats parked at a forty-five degree angle twenty feet in the air. The floor level during the event was full of historic Riva race boats dating back to the mid-thirties, culled from private collections around Europe. What a sight!
The event was organized to celebrate Riva’s racing heritage and also to launch a new book on Riva racing. Author Riccardo Sassoli was on hand to talk about his new limited edition book Riva Corsa : The Origins of the Myth along with Lia Riva, representing the Riva family. The boats were fascinating to see. One was powered by a Ferrari motor and all had an important race history. The incredible boats and the fabulous food were amazing. The evening was capped off for me when I got to speak with both Riccardo Sassoli and Lia Riva and have them sign my copy of the book.
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