Love or loathe them, you still have to admit that the Vespa scooter is about as Italian as pasta.
While you might not be aware of this, Piaggio is the fourth largest producer of scooters and motorcycles in the world. But it was the world renown Vespa which put the company on the map.
First produced in 1946, just after the second world war, one could say that the Vespa got Italians mobile again after the ravages of the war.
The Vespa - ‘wasp’ in English, was also the first globally successful scooter. Even Hollywood greats, such as Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, and tough guy cowboy, John Wayne were Vespa fans. These zippy little scooters were ideal for dealing with potholed post war Italian roads, and obviously very convenient for whizzing around film sets too.
Should you like to find out a little more about this iconic Italian scooter, you might like to know that there is a Vespa Scooter Museum in Italy, where, amongst other things, you will find a bazooka scooter, world record breaking high-speed scooters, and even a flying scooter – which was used in the 1967 Dick Smart 2007 spoof spy film.
Here is a very nice YouTube video tour of the Vespa museum which was taken in 2000.
Vespa Scooter Museum in Italy
Vespa scooter aficionado’s on holiday in Italy might like to whiz on over to the Vespa museum, better known officially as the MuseoPiaggio, which can be found in Pontedera in Northwest Tuscany, a 15-minute drive from Pisa and some 35 minutes from Florence. Entrance is free.
The Piaggio Museum Opening Hours
Tuesday to Saturday
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Call these numbers for further information:
+39 0587 27.17.1
+39 0587 29.00.57
Opening hours for exhibitions and other events are subject to change.
Please call the Museum for information.
For more information, visit the MuseoPiaggio website. The site is in English.