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Vespa - the sublime scooter

by Elena Guarneri last modified 2008-06-20 15:11

The ultimate symbol of Italian freedom and style, the Vespa's allure has spanned 55 years. We take a look at the sublime scooter and the fashion collection that bears its name.

vespa1The years may pass but that icon of Italian spirit and style - the Vespa - is still looking good and going strong. Piaggio, the company behind the Vespa, has moved into the fashion fast lane the Vespa Lifestyle, a collection of clothes and accessories that mix vintage style with innovative cut and materials. Vespas have also returned to the US market after a 15-year hiatus with a brand-new Vespa Boutique opening in California, where locals can delight in the sublime scooter while sipping some of the best transatlantic espressos.

Vespas and VIPs
vespaThe Vespa is the perfect combination of past and present, vintage and avant-garde and its renewed success is also a sure guarantee for the future.
A symbol of quintessential Italian style since it was first introduced more than 50 years ago, the Vespa quickly reached cult status. It became synonymous with the economic boom of the 1950s and '60s and was adored by rich and poor alike. It has starred in a variety of films from classics such as "La Dolce Vita" by Federico Fellini), and "Roman Holiday" to contemporary successes such as "Austin Powers" and is still the preferred mode of transport of stars and starlets the world over. (Celebrity fans include Nanni Moretti, Leo DiCaprio, Milla Jovovich and Steven Spielberg.) Indeed, Vespa has joined forces with the Elite model agency in an all-Italy tour in search of new faces.

In the beginning…
"It looks like a wasp!" (Sembra una vespa!) exclaimed Enrico Piaggio — the owner of the legendary Piaggio company, founded in Genoa in 1884 — as he climbed on to the first Vespa, designed by aeronautical engineer Corradino D’Ascanio in 1946.
The Vespa was first introduced into a post-war Italy which had been heavily bombed and whose roads had been badly damaged. It's simple yet robust structure, elegant lines and affordable price ensured its appeal to men and women alike (the enclosed engine allowed the latter to ride without compromising their modesty!)
logoVespa enthusiasts should visit the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera (near Pisa, Tuscany) where you can view the exhibition which toured prestigious venues such as the Guggenheim in New York and the Pompidou Centre, Paris. Returning with the most famous Vespa of them all - the one customised by Salvador Dalì in 1962.
The stuff that dreams are made of.

Vespa - - The official site of Vespa scooters, with lots of information and fab facts.
Piaggio - - All you need to know about Piaggio, the manufacturer of Vespas.
Vespa Fans - - A site for Vespa obsessives the world over.

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