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Grand celebration for Benetti’s 150 year anniversary

benetti yacht

In the 1960s, with Lorenzo Benetti, the shipyard changed the yachting sector by switching construction from wood to steel: thus the modern megayacht concept was born, with the Delfino, Gabbiano and Mediterraneo series. They recalled stories of the aristocracy and international jet set in the years of ‘la dolce vita‘.

From Rainier of Monaco to David Bowie, who used to spend his holidays on his ‘El Caran’ with Mick Jagger, Robin Williams, and Michael Caine. The Beatles were often guests of their manager, the owner of a Delfino Benetti.

As Benetti kept growing Adnan Kashoggi commissioned the famous ‘Nabila‘, later renamed the ‘Trump Princess’ by Donald Trump and used in James Bond’s film ‘Never Say Never’. The band Queen also taled about the Nabila in the song “Kashoggi’s Boat”. Despite its success, it was this very project that imposed the change of ownership.

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David Bowie onboard the Bentti El Caran (year 1977)

The acquisition by Azimut yacht

In 1985, F.lli Benetti was acquired by Paolo Vitelli, the young owner of the Azimut yard. Under the new name, Cantiere Benetti, Vitelli implemented a financial restructuring plan to restore the brand.

His idea to use composite in the new Classic 115′ line of 1988, led to the sale of a hundred examples in just 10 years. Paolo Vitelli also built the first diesel-electric yacht, the Ambrosia, in 2006.

He also established an in-house R&D center, focusing on reducing consumption and increasing the use of sustainable materials. One of the company’s latest creations embodies Benetti’s technology and know-how: “Luminosity” launched in 2020, with its 107 meters, is one of the largest Giga yacht with a hybrid propulsion engine.

In 2022, the B.Yond 37-meter was awarded the greenest yacht in its class, for its hybrid propulsion system. In the same year, the yard created the Oasis Deck™ series, with side-wing sterns that open flush to the water.

Benetti 150 years


To celebrate the long story of the shipyard, on June the 16th in Viareggio, where the shipyard’s history began, Paolo Vitelli, founder of the Azimut|Benetti Group, his daughter Giovanna Vitelli, Chair, and CEO Marco Valle, together with company employees welcomed the local authorities to highlight the bond with the territory.

It was a moment to recall the history of two families who, at different times, have been able to share values and passion, but it was also an opportunity to embrace, thank and pay homage to their long-standing collaborators.

Then, on June the 17th, the protagonists of the event were the ship-owners, who were invited to attend the evening at the Livorno Shipyard.

benetti anniversary

Inside one of the warehouses, next to a yacht under construction, Belgian architect and set designer Charles Kaisin recalled the history of Benetti in a creative way and, with more than 50 waiters/actors, entertained the guests: dishes served under cloches in the shape of ancient vessels, ‘sound’ shells from which to hear sounds and voices of a yacht under construction, a ‘flying’ pianist and soprano, and hundreds of swaying lights.

Outside, the marina hosted the “Odissey III”, a 33-metre yacht from the Mediterraneo series, dated 1967; “Stella Fiera”, the first unit of the Classic 115′ series; El Caran that once belonged to David Bowie, and the very latest of the B.Now and Oasis Deck™ series.

Finally, on Sunday June the18th, the Livorno shipyard welcomed employees, their families, and suppliers, offering fun activities, such as visits to the lighthouse and the fleet of boats, sporting activities, such as sailing trials organized by the Antignano Sailing Club, and cultural activities, such as visits to the shipyard museum and the ‘Scenari di Cantiere’ (Shipyard Scenarios), a show held by the city’s Goldoni Theatre.

The company’s long-standing employees received a valuable award, while some selected among the youngest were offered a special training course for their professional growth, confirming their central role for the shipyard.