Rivarossi was founded in 1945 by Alessandro Rossi with a Mr. Riva. In the 1990s Rivarossi acquired Lima (1992), Jouef and Arnold (1997). In 2003 Rivarossi went into receivership.
In 2004 Hornby Railways plc acquired assets from Rivarossi, in particular the brands Arnold, Jouef, Rivarossi and Lima. Since 2006 products are sold again under these brand names. The production has been moved to China.
From 1957 Rivarossi HO models were licensed and sold by Lionel as Lionel HO. The cooperation with Lionel broke down over financial issues after only a year. From 1958 Rivarossi products were sold through Athearn. After Athearn, just about all Rivarossi products, and its sister company Pocher, were distributed through AHM (Associated Hobby Manufactures).