The Fashion Icon On Two Wheels
Imagine chasing the clouds, passing meadows beckoning hearty Sunday walks, cows staring from their lazy stances, squirrels dodging your path and country pubs tempting yet another cappuccino.
All this can be yours from the padded seats of a fashionable zippy Vespa. All two wheels of it, sporting bright bold colours and an iconic image. Italian, of course, grabbing attention as you coast along country roads, devoid of traffic but bursting with views, vistas and that feeling of being at one with nature. Free to the open elements and face to face with airborne creatures.
A design classic and a symbol of the “dolce vita”, the Vespa (meaning wasp) is an Italian brand of scooter manufactured by Piaggio. It was in Florence that this wasp-shaped two-wheeler was born. Enrico Piaggio registered the patent in the Tuscan capital on April 23, 1946. And seventy years later, more than 18 million models had been sold.
Like any vehicle, the top speed of a new Vespa depends on the size and weight of its engine. A 50cc scooter can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. A scooter with a larger displacement can reach nearly 80 mph.
And proud of its roots, there is even a museum dedicated to the legendary Vespa in the heart of Rome not far from The Colosseum. Here you can see a number of celebrated models, complete with videos and vintage photos. Small it maybe, but you feel you are in the midst of the1950s heyday. Here the memorabilia highlights featured roles in films. There’s Audrey Hepburn riding side-saddle with Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. Widely seen as one of the most recognisable props in any cast, the Vespa has star attraction in other movies too such as Alfie, Larry Crowne and Quadrophenia.
The Vespa is still scootering along and has evolved from a single model motor version and today remains the expression of a distinctive lifestyle and owes much to its origins and iconographic identity.
So, hop-on, rev-up and enjoy the moving scenery and be part of the fashionable Vespa set. Home and abroad there are many tours available from exploring the ancient roads of Rome to guided tours of the rice fields and villages of Vietnam. Enjoy the ride.