Today BBC News focuses  on Viareggio, the city that makes the most expensive boats in the world.

“Its speciality is the superyacht. These giant crewed vessels start at about the length of an average swimming pool – 24-metres. But the biggest can stretch to five or more times this. It’s a world that belongs to only the very wealthiest of the wealthy – to buy a superyacht you have to be super rich. Just 370 superyachts were sold last year around the globe, yet collectively these sales were worth a staggering 3.4bn euros (£3bn; £4bn).

Viareggio is where about a fifth of these gigantic elite boats are made. It’s the “cradle of shipbuilding” is how the city’s mayor Giorgio del Ghingaro sums it up.

In fact, the town’s involvement in the industry goes back almost 200 years to 1819 when the first dock was built. Viareggio started to build large, strong wooden ships to transport the marble from the region’s famous quarries. This laid the foundations for what would eventually become a major international shipping industry with a history of carpentry and craftsmanship.

Vincenzo Poerio, the chief executive of shipbuilding firm Benetti, which is headquartered in Viareggio, believes the region’s artistic roots have helped to drive its success in the industry. Tuscan cities such as Lucca, Pisa, Siena and Florence are renowned for their craftmanship in marble, wood, leather and architecture. And people in the market for buying a superyacht expect everything – the interior as well as the exterior – to look perfect. [Continue reading]”

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