70 years Vespa

Eternally in fashion, Vespa is a living legend”

The first Vespa was created in the Tuscan factory of Pontedera near Pisa in 1946. After the Second World War the Piaggio family, which was specialised in the construction of aircrafts, wanted to help the cripple Italian economy to get back on top. There was an urgent need for a modern and affordable way of transport. The vehicle had to be easy to steer for men and women, it had to carry a passenger and all that without having to worry about the messiness of dirt and mud. 

The design was entrusted to an airplane expert, D'Asciano, who disliked motorcycles. With his knowledge of airplane technique he designed a vehicle which was built on a frame with a steering handle and with the engine placed on the rear wheel. When Enrico Piaggio saw this revolutionary design he compared it with a "Vespa", the Italian word for wasp, because the design looks like the slim waist of a wasp. The first Vespas had a 98cc two-stroke engine with 3 gears and reached a maximum speed of 60 km per hour.

The Vespa was not an uncomfortable and noisy motorcycle but rather an elegant scooter. It was a glowing success. During the first ten years after the Second World War more than a million Vespas were produced in Italy. In the mid 1950s, Vespa was also produced in Germany, Great Britain, France, Belgium and Spain. Only a few years later production was started also in India and Indonesia. After the film “Roman Holiday” with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in 1953, Vespa also became very popular outside Italy.

The first Ape (Italian word for a “worker bee”) was made just two years after the first Vespa was assembled. The Ape is a Vespa with an open or closed loading platform.

Vespa is not just a scooter. It is one of the biggest icons of Italian style and elegance. Piaggio produced over 16 million Vespa scooters and is known all across the world. Vespa has never been a follower of fashion – it has always been a trend-setter: modernity built, not just on design and technology, but pure Italian style. For almost 70 years Vespa has fascinated millions of people. Vespa is a brand that symbolises a culture and an active way of life, geared to enthusiasm and happiness.
To mark the 70th anniversary of Vespa, the Piaggio group released a special model, a modern Vespa Primavera 70 with an exclusive and unique color, Azzurro-70. In addition to the new color dress, the anniversary model features a really nice brown saddle and it has the logo of 70 years Vespa at the height of the front passenger seat.

The Piaggio museum is an authentic museum about the history and the future of the Piaggio brand. Here you can admire old and new Vespa models but also other Italian brands such as Aprilia, Moto-Guzzi and Gilera, all brands/models from the Piaggio group. From 22 April until 4 June 2016 the museum celebrates the 70th anniversary of Vespa, with an exceptional exposition of Vespa scooters.

Visit the Vespa museum near the Piaggio factory in Pontedera (in Viale Rinaldo Piaggio n. 7). The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, on Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm. The museum is open every second and fourth Sunday of the month from 10 am to 6 pm. In Juy and August the museum will be open every Sunday. Closed on Mondays. You can easily reach the museum from Pisa, Florence and Livorno.

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