Who doesn’t love a Vespa?
A wasp story.
Ever since their introduction in 1945 by Enrico Piaggio, the second owner of Piaggio and Co. (founded by his father Rinaldo) Vespa scooters have gained the love of not only Italy and the rest of Europe, but the rest of the world as well. The Piaggio company, which originally manufactured aircraft (although some other info out there says they did railroad carriages), had to reinvent itself after World War II due to a lack of demand. This is when Enrico came to the rescue by having the idea of creating a two-wheel vehicle for working class Italians to get back on their feet and get around. (For the complete heritage and history of Vespa, check out this Timeline).
But, how did the Vespa reached its way to the Americas? Media hype! Of course.
In the United States, Vespas were popularized in the fifties by Hollywood with the film Roman Holiday (well, most Hollywood movies made in Italy feature a Vespa, just like they feature Minis when they film in England) not only resulting in more than 10,000 sales, but making the Vespa a symbol of Italian romance (yes, girls love Vespas).
South America was probably also influenced by Hollywood publicity, however, Vespas were also introduced and popularized by the Piaggio acrobatic team (founded in 1955 and composed by the firm’s test riders), with performances in Colombia and Brazil. Known as the Vespitis, the team demonstrated their abilities and the reliability of Vespa. Some of their performances included eight riders balancing on top of one Vespa, as well as jumps from a number of meters.
Today, Vespas have become famous for roadtripping. Here are some of our favorites blogs and sites about a Vespa roadtrip:
- Vespa Road Trip in Paris
- From San Fransisco to New York city on a Vespa
- Sur Sueño Vespa
- Cream City and Sugar – Vespa Road Trip through Italy
- Vespa: 1946-2006: 60 Years of the Vespa By Giorgio Sarti