History of a design and style ICON
Only in Italy could an ugly US military motorcycle be the catalyst that led to the creation of an icon of style and design. With more than 16 million scooters sold, Vespa has become a synonym for style, freedom and all things Italian ... The name alone evokes images of handsome people in beautiful places, an image that spread even more when Federico Fellini rode the sensual Anita Ekberg on a Vespa in his cinematic masterpiece "La Dolce Vita".
The Vespa was born in 1946 as a result of the collaboration between Enrico Piaggio and the aeronautical engineer Corradino D'Ascanio. At the end of the Second World War, Piaggio had the vision of a comfortable, easy-to-use and cheap means of transportation. The project of a first prototype did not convince Piaggio and he turned to aeronautical engineer Corradino D'Ascanio. The engineer, who liked airplanes more than motorcycles, designed a revolutionary-looking vehicle for his time: He put the engine on the rear wheel and devised the front arm with the airplane landing gear in mind. Legend has it that when Piaggio saw her, he exclaimed: "Bello, mi sembra una vespa" ("Pretty, it reminds me of a wasp", in Italian), alluding to the shape of the vehicle: thicker rear part connected to the front for a slim waist, and the handlebars like antennas.
Piaggio revolutionized the two-wheeler industry with the Vespa and produced a model that virtually all other scooters have since relied on.
Hollywood has always had a love story with la Vespa: in the 1953 movie "Roman Holidays", it can be said that she starred alongside Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, as it is the images of them riding on the scooter through Rome that have helped the film last.
Even today it seems that if a movie is in Italy, it must have a Vespa featured in it. Recent movies have included "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "American Graffiti". Glamorous celebrities who have been photographed alongside a Vespa include Joan Collins, Ursula Andress and Raquel Welch, Henry Fonda, Antonio Banderas, Jude Law, and Gwen Stefani among others.