Hot Seat

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.

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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 2. As­ceno for Goop Striped Silk Eye Mask, $70; goop .com. 3. Con­tem­po­rary Din­ner Plate, $38; 4. An­chor Pen­dant Neck­lace, $275; fal­lon­jew­ 5. Mem­oirs of Hadrian by Mar­guerite Yource­nar, $18; ama­ 6. De­marie Vine­yards Bar­baresco, $61; de­ 7. Silk Skinny Scarf, $45; 8. Portofino, Lig­uria, Italy. 9. Gio Ponti for Bonacina Ital­ian Rat­tan Chair, $1,400; 1stdibs .com. 10. Rev­erso Classic Small watch, $5,350; jaeger-lecoul­ 8 9 10 1 7 3 6 2 4 5

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