“Over the course of their existence every human being can adopt two attitudes: build or plant. Builders might linger for years over their tasks, but there comes a day when they finish the job. At that point, they stop, and their space then seems limited by the walls they’ve erected. When the building is finished, life loses its meaning. Then there are those who plant: sometimes they suffer because of storms and the season, and they rarely rest. But unlike a building, the garden never stops developing. It requires the constant attention of the gardener, but at the same time, allows him to live through a great adventure.” (Paulo Coelho, Brida)
“We, but my father first,” says David Filippi, son of Lido, the founder of the Filippi boatyard, “We are planters. Because our product is never the same as it was the day before, and each boat is tailor-made on the athletes who will use it and we’re always pursuing the improvements suggested by our engineers, as well as the experiences of our technicians and whatever we experience and see at the regattas in person.”
The products are the rowing shells made in the Filippi boatyard in Donoratico, on the Tuscan coast, in the northern part of the Maremma. They’re one of the top “Made in Italy” products, modern racing shells adapted like tailor-made suits to the athletes’ body, weight and attitude. The boats have their own fascination. They are white with a blue stripe, the color of our national teams, all part of the line, making them the greyhounds of the water, capable of slicing impalpably through it as if they were moved by the wind, as well as making them resistant enough to support the weight of the rowers - up to eight people plus the coxswain - all of them forming a unit.
What makes a Filippi an incredible and fascinating product is the human history of the founder, Lido Filippi, one of those types who is a bit of a craftsman, a bit of designer, and a bit of industrial leader. The location and moment of his birth - in this case rural Italy just before the Second World War - made it an uphill struggle at the start, but they have brought and still bring the best of our country to the rest of the world. These men have something extra, that all-Italian gift that is creativity, which in Filippi is matched by an innate ability to see the product as a whole in all its details - some call it “the absolute eye” - strengthened by a deep passion for work and extraordinary perseverance. So much so that today, thirty-eight years after the beginning of this adventure, the business is still growing. It is one of those businesses which, to paraphrase builders and planters, is subject every day to the restless opinion of the market. An opinion that is formed on the water where crews push each racing shell to their maximum effort in a competition that, behind the scenes, involves the racing shell producers in an even more difficult game.