From the main saloon of a sleek Azimut S7 yacht moored off of Italy’s Ligurian coast, Azimut Benetti Group Vice President Giovanna Vitelli talks dinner parties, midcentury furniture, and the positive power of anchors.
Giovanna Vitelli of Azimut Benetti Group sits down for a chat off Italy’s Ligurian coast.
FOR GIOVANNA VITELLI, creativity is not unlike navigating the rhythms of the ocean. There are sudden swells of new ideas followed by periods of calmer tides, when thoughts gently rock against your bow. “To be the best in the world, you must work meticulously on the refinement of every aspect,” she says. Her ability to balance big-picture thinking with detail-oriented oversight has helped Vitelli usher in a new, more collaborative style of leadership since taking the helm of
the Azimut Benetti Group alongside her father, who founded the Italian yacht firm in 1969. While its second half-century may include more team-brainstorming sessions than its first, the family business’s mission remains unchanged: a commitment to innovative design with equal emphasis on cruising comfort and understated sophistication. “Luxury is not opulent but discrete, because everything, even richness, is so much better if just gently whispered.” Here, 10 other secrets Vitelli shared during our dockside chat.
I never tire of the blues of the ocean. Milan artist Francesco Jodice’s photography, which we display in the lobby of our headquarters, puts me at ease. My definition of self-care is a
good night’s sleep. It fuels me to take on the challenges of the day and makes me feel more creative. When I am well rested, I can do anything! My creative energy comes from
intimate moments like evenings at home relaxing, chatting with my children, or hosting friends for dinner. I recently fell in love with this tableware in Puglia. Every dish is handmade and different from the next. Wearing my grandmother’s necklace makes me feel strong. The anchor, which is part of my daily life, is a symbol full of positive meanings across many cultures and religions. I was shaped by the double
soul of my parents. My father’s side is more conservative, with a love of 17th- and 18th-century French art, and my mother’s side is very intellectual. They instilled in me a passion for art and literature, such as Memoirs of Hadrian, my favorite book. I believe it has contributed to being open to curiosity and not stuck to one given model. The key to an unforgettable party is selecting the right
guests. That, a suggestive sunset, and good Italian wine —like a Barolo, Nebbiolo, or Barbaresco—are all you need to guarantee a good time. I feel dull when I’m not wearing
a touch of color. Patterned scarves are a staple in my closet. I love how they give personality to the most simple and basic outfits.
Even if I weren’t a boat builder, I’d still spend my vacations on
the water. There is no greater luxury than the freedom that comes with yachting. The freedom to change plans, to stay alone or to be seen, to enjoy the silence of a private bay one day and the most glamorous marina the next day— it’s just unbeatable! I find design expressions of the 20th century endlessly inspir
ing. Furniture designed by Italian architect and designer Gio Ponti has such clean, sophisticated lines. It’s as relevant today as it was groundbreaking in the middle of the 20th century. I’m most proud of introducing my father to a new way to work, involving teamwork and brainstorming, where others have the opportunity to contribute. Now my father loves this too. I owe a lot to him, which is a great privilege and responsibility. I wear a Jaeger-lecoultre Reverso, which he gave me on my 21st birthday, every day. It’s a reminder of his vision and his enduring legacy.
“There is no greater luxury than the freedom that comes with yachting... to change plans...enjoy the silence of the bay.”
↑ THE SOFA “A yacht tells a lot about the personality of her owner. Of me, it tells about my love for light, air, and a touch of color.” Banquette cushions, Dedar.
1. Francesco Jodice’s Capri, The Diefenbach Chronicles, #003 (2013), price upon request; gazelliart house.com. 2. Asceno for Goop Striped Silk Eye Mask, $70; goop .com. 3. Contemporary Dinner Plate, $38; fasanocnf.it. 4. Anchor Pendant Necklace, $275; fallonjewelry.com. 5. Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, $18; amazon.com. 6. Demarie Vineyards Barbaresco, $61; demarie.com. 7. Silk Skinny Scarf, $45; cuyana.com. 8. Portofino, Liguria, Italy. 9. Gio Ponti for Bonacina Italian Rattan Chair, $1,400; 1stdibs .com. 10. Reverso Classic Small watch, $5,350; jaeger-lecoultre.com. 8 9 10 1 7 3 6 2 4 5