Happy birthday, Vespa! The iconic scooter turns 70

April 25, 2016

Vespa has just turned 70, but looks quite young for its age. The iconic scooter boasts a classic design that identifies with Italy itself, and Italy, these days, is indeed celebrating the birthday of the symbol of the “Dolce Vita”.

The most celebrated and possibly famous scooter of all times has gone through decades with the elegance and class that distinguish it. The public loves Vespa, and in fact its sales have tripled in the last decade.

Do you remember the famous Hollywood movie “Roman Holiday”, where Gregory Peck pursued an adorable-looking Audrey Hepburn in the Eternal City? It was 1953 and Vespa was the third protagonist of the movie, starring in a scene that has become legendary.

The Vespa was born in Florence, Tuscany, on April 23, 1946 by the hand of Enrico Piaggio. Since then, 18 millions of models have been sold all over the world.

The basic principle that was the core of the Vespa is still current and realistic: designing and manufacturing a scooter that is easy to produce and inexpensive for consumers, comfortable to drive and with a characteristic look.

The result was perfect, and the Vespa’s design is, to date, still revolutionary and unmistakable. In the 1950s and 1960s, people bought a Vespa because they could not afford a car. Today, they drive it because no scooter looks like a Vespa, and Vespa is synonymous with style, elegance, design and Italian tradition.

Patrice Verges, a historian of the automobile industry, explains: “The Vespa was better than a motor bike: it had a body with a front apron that protected riders from dust, the mud and the rain. And people liked the design and the distinctive noise, which was like that of a wasp.”

Marco Lambri, current design director of the modern Vespa, adds: “It is still a legend. It represents the best of Italian design and the (engineering) genius that allowed aeronautical technology to be applied to the creation of a scooter that has revolutionized our way of getting around.”

Happy birthday, icon of Italian style.

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