GianAlberto Zanoletti is an exceptional individual who wants to get things done and knows how to do it.
At the beginning of it all, there was Lake Como.
Born in 1943, GianAlberto spent his first summer holidays on the lake and, as a young boy, he got to know all the old fishermen and shipwrights. When he was 12 he was given his first dinghy, which marked the beginning of his great love of sailing regattas and motorboats.
His drive and ambition took him straight to the top. He was only 17 when he competed in the “100 miglia del lago” on a Molinari with a Mercury outboard engine. In 1970 he beat the world speed record in the Outboard Sport class SF (1000 cc.) on an Abbate motorboat with a Carniti engine. From an early age he began his collection of wooden boats, well aware that these constituted the very memory of the lake.
Sailboats, motorboats, gondolas, comballos, shuttle boats, work boats. Nothing escaped the eagle eye of GianAlberto and over the years, he collected hundreds of “old ladies” made of wood, as well as objects, photographs and stories.
His own garden could no longer hold the collection, so in 1977 he bought an old textile mill which would become Museo Barca Lariana and together with some friends, he founded Associazione Raccolta Barca Lariana, an association whose mission was the conservation of vintage boats.
In 1982 the Museo Barca Lariana opened its doors to the public with a collection that was without equal anywhere in the world. This collection of inestimable value for the nautical sector and Italian history which covers 9400 square metres of exhibition and storage space and over 8000 square metres of gardens, tells the history of sailing in Lombardy and especially Lake Como, an area steeped in history and culture.
From that day on, he threw himself heart and soul into his great love, vintage boats, which he rightly saw as historic gems. With extraordinary poetry and expressive power, this collection evokes his inner world: images, emotions, little pieces of the life of GianAlberto Zanoletti.
As you wander around the museum you will find yourself caught up in its very special atmosphere where time seems to stand still.
“It is well worth continuing, even if only for a very few. Even if it were for just one person. Even if I were the only one in the world who was interested in traditional boats and even if there were a total lack of interest among people today, I would still go on, because nautical history deserves any amount of effort in order to keep it alive. And I, like my fellow boat lovers, want to continue to be that link between past and future” G.A.Z.