As precious as works of art: The vintage Bellini models
Only a few know: Bellini Nautica, currently specialized in the sale of luxury yachts, the restoration of vintage models, and the provision of a wide range of services for boats, was founded in 1960 as a real boatyard. Established under the lucky star of the Dolce Vita – it was just that year that the great Fellini film made its appearance in theaters and gave way to a collective imagination nothing short of fabulous – the company was led by shipwright Battista Bellini and produced its own collection of fine mahogany and cedar motorboats.
The Bellini boatyards, set like a jewel in a former textile mill on the banks of Lake Iseo, created impeccable handcrafted wooden yachts, the allure of which soon set sail from the tiny Clusane, navigating toward the glittering stages of the great international exhibitions. The craftsmanship of the yachts, the quality of the wood used, and the incredible precision with which they were manufactured, soon made them highly desirable. Not surprisingly, the boatyard’s slogan was “Security, elegance, perfection”.
Cover of the Bellini catalogue – 60’s
Leafing through an old 1960s catalog, still preserved in the historical archives of the company, one can discover the secrets of each vintage Bellini model. The motorboat Jonic, for example, was raved about as ideal for “enthusiasts to experience the thrill of the race”. Designed to carry 6 people, its 5.20 meters in length is immortalized with the image of a model on board who, for that period, was wearing a very daring bikini.
The 6.60 meter Astor, an authentic and reliable dream of a yacht, a “charm” for those who desired peaceful and unforgettable holidays. The Iseo Super, with its 8 meters and powerful dual engine, was a coveted model called “the pearl of the sea: easy to control, comfortable, robust and fast”. And finally, always highlighted by a saucy and seductive model, the Atlantic presented itself to enthusiasts as the superb specimen that contained all the experience of the boatyards.
Following the long illness and death of Battista, his son Romano Bellini took over the helm of the company – by then a well established company with more than 30 employees – and steered the course toward yacht storage, eventually abandoning the construction of wooden boats. It was a targeted and strategic decision due to the entry of fiberglass into the boating market, which over the years has proven to be extremely successful and forward-looking.
The Bellini vintage models – now authentic gems for passionate collectors – were on display in Genoa, Paris, Zurich, Hamburg and Milan. The most successful models – Condor, Jonic, Atlantic, Atlantic Super, Astor, and Iseo – are still carefully safeguarded as true works of art.
Bellini Nautica – 1960