Global Appeal

At the helm of Genesis Yachts and Genesis Interiors, Key Biscayners Roberto Lottini & Sandra Savini love exploring the world’s great destinations and vast oceans. But all of their adventures and career successes cannot compare to the exhilarating love they have for one another.
Words // Sandy Lindsey | Photos // Edward Leal | January 31, 2024 | People

Roberto Lottini & Sandra Savini could live anywhere in the world, yet chose to put down roots in Key Biscayne. He was born and raised in Viareggio, Italy, the capital of the Italian yacht industry and a cultural and tourist destination in the heart of Tuscany. She was born and raised in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and has roots in many countries. Her father’s family is from Ravenna, on the Adriatic Coast of Italy just south of Venice. Her mother’s side is German-Haitian. Although they are both from the same part of the world, their serendipitous love-at-first-sight story began in Miami. At the time, Sandra was Boutique Director at Loro Piana in Village of Merrick Park, when Roberto came by to purchase essentials for a winter work trip to Aspen. He left with a pair of cashmere sweaters and a future wife!

Roberto founded Genesis Yachts in Viareggio in 1994, and it soon became the brand name for high-quality, innovative custom yacht construction and refit services, as well as for the design, fabrication and installation of custom yacht and residential interiors. “I was searching for a name that was recognizable in English, Italian and the other languages I speak,” he says. “When it came to my mind, I had no doubt that ‘Genesis’ was the word. It means ‘the beginning,’ and it also happened to be the name of my favorite rock band whose music I grew up with in the 1980s!”

Although his yacht operation in Viareggio was very successful, his dream was to live in the U.S. “When the opportunity came up, I didn’t think twice,” he says. “South Florida was the natural destination for my business and very soon, my wife and I discovered a paradise on earth called Key Biscayne.” Sandra couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. “Key Biscayne is a magical place,” she says. “A beautiful and safe tropical island village to live in and raise our kids. We can enjoy the beautiful beaches year-round, yet we are just minutes away from Brickell, Coconut Grove and Downtown Miami with its theaters, museums and the opera. Living here, you feel like you are at the center of everything you may need, while still enjoying this quiet and peaceful corner of paradise. One could be easily fooled that Key Biscayne residents are on vacation all year long! The dress code around the island is casual-chic and colorful, and the preferred mode of transport is a golf cart!”

Italy is where many of their family members still live, and where their family-owned shipyard, Cantiere Viareggio, is located. They manufacture and fit-out custom projects for one of the most successful companies in the yachting industry, Azimut Benetti Group, along with other clients. “Whether for business or pleasure, we always enjoy going back to Italy,” they say. “We have a house in the hills between Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi, which thanks to its central location, we use as a base for trips throughout Europe. Sometimes the destinations we travel to are motivated by cultural events or history; other times we visit to sightsee and relax. Art and craftsmanship surround us when we are in Italy, from the marble sculptures of Pietrasanta to the foundries where the late Mitoraj and Botero crafted their award-winning works.”

Today, Genesis is a leading custom luxury yacht and residential interior manufacturer. In addition to Cantiere Viareggio, they have two manufacturing facilities where they design and build the interiors for yacht and residential projects: one in Fort Lauderdale near Marina Mile, and the other in Viareggio. Both are equipped with the latest manufacturing equipment and are staffed by experienced artisans and woodworkers. In Italy, team members draw on experience handed down through generations. In Fort Lauderdale, they employ both Italian craftsmen and local artisans they train to work on large yachts. To date, Genesis has delivered over 150 projects, including mostly custom yacht interiors followed by the complete fitting-out of vessels. They have also completed high-end residential interiors.

In her spare time, Sandra is a Board Member for the Florida Grand Opera, an appointment she accepted shortly after experiencing the magic of Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini last year. “My mission is to make opera accessible to everyone — focusing on our youth first, as they are our future,” she says. “I want to assist our talented Florida Grand Opera Studio Artists who offer concerts throughout Miami-Dade and Broward County and bring opera to local schools.”

Two years ago, Viareggio’s Mayor Giorgio del Ghingaro reached out to Roberto expressing his idea to create a sister city agreement between the City of Viareggio and Miami-Dade County. The objective was to develop bonds based on business (notably the yachting industry), tourism, arts and culture. “As a proud citizen of Viareggio and Key Biscayne, I was excited about this project and naturally became involved in all the steps that led to the signing of the Sister City agreement in 2021,” he says. In 2023, Roberto was awarded the prestigious Columbus International Award, presented in the Italian Senate in Rome, for his contribution to spreading Italian Design and the Made-in-Italy tradition of hand-crafting custom yacht interiors around the world.

When it comes to their passions and pastimes, Roberto & Sandra are both extremely active. He has been a runner his entire life, completing many marathons and several half-marathons. “I recently switched to swimming, a sport with less impact on my body,” he says. “I also love reading classical books — authors from the 1800s are some of my favorites.” Meanwhile, Sandra enjoys Peloton and Pilates sessions. “We also love walks around the Village Green and Crandon Beach,” they say. “We are fond of music, specifically opera, classical and jazz. We both love cooking and eating healthy foods — in Italy, we have olive trees that yield us enough of our own olive oil for the entire year!”

Their son, Sebastian, is currently a senior in high school. His goal is to study engineering and eventually take over the family business. Roberto’s daughter, Valentina, and her husband, Alessio, live in Viareggio and manage the family shipyard. As to what is on the horizon, the possibilities are as grand as the yachts they build;