A Journey Through The Vespa History

A Journey Through The Vespa History

The Piaggio Museum in Pontedera, a town 35 km from Pisa, might not ring a bell, but it’s the place to go for a journey through the Vespa history.

VespArt Collection

From the first simple models to race scooters and, more recently, the meeting between art and design with the ‘VespArte‘ competition in 2001, the museum retraces the steps of one of the most famous icons of Italian design and of Italy’s industrial development.

Pieces of Vespa History

The Vespa history is a blend of engineering excellence, vision and creativity leading to a long-lasting success which never faded throughout the years.

Green Vespa

In the early ’50s, Audrey Hepbburn and Gregory Peck riding a Vespa scooter across the city in Roman Holidays, the movie which ordained the Vespa as a cinema icon.

Vespa 94

As a symbol of the best Italian industrial design and creativity, the Vespa scooter was exhibited in some of the most important museums in the world, like NYC MOMA and the Triennale Design Museum in Milan.

VespArte, Purple Vespa

The origins of the name ‘Vespa’ – meaning wasp – is reported as linked to a funny (although uncertain) circumstance. Apparently, when spotting the first prototype of the scooter and hearing the noise made from its engine, Enrico Piaggio said “It sounds like a wasp“.

Racing Vespa

Another milestone in the history of Vespa is the creation of the Ape car in 1948, the 3 wheels vehicle that soon became another Italian symbol worldwide. Created at the end of World War II, when Italy was still strained from the war and most people could not afford a car for transportation, the Ape car was the perfect answer to the current needs and is still produced today.

Moto Ape

Since the launch of the first model in 1946, Vespa has undergone many changes in mechanics and design but never lost its main characteristics and has remained ready to recognise.


Time didn’t undermine the charm of the Vespa scooter, which remains an icon across the world.

Vespa Map

After 67 years from its launch, Vespa is not only a symbol of a glorious past but well rooted in the present and the future of design and transportation. At the Piaggio Museum, the Vespa history is a journey across Italian creativity and excellence, a few hours of truly pleasant and interesting entertainment.

VespArt - Mucca Pazza (Mad Cow)

Practical Information:

Getting there from Pisa —> 35 km, from Florence —> 60 km

Piaggio Museum: Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

More reading on Tuscany: Eat, Pray, Love… A Tribute to the Hidden Tuscany 

  • Pingback:Vespa and Cinema: a Great Icon Meets Cult Movies
    Posted at 11:07h, 23 March Reply

    […] (Museo Piaggio) in┬áPontedera, near Pisa, guides its visitors through a journey recalling the history of Vespa, from the early stages to its more recent […]

  • Josh Salvage
    Posted at 11:11h, 18 February Reply

    Pondetera has been on my to-do list for a little while now. I would love to ride down from the UK on my classic Vespa and make a European tour out of it!

    Great pictures. I bet there were scooters everywhere!

  • Jenna
    Posted at 23:14h, 12 August Reply

    on my list for my next trip to Italy!

  • Lesley Peterson
    Posted at 21:35h, 12 June Reply

    Is there any greater Italian design icon than the Vespa? I’ve GOT to get to this museum!!

  • Miruna
    Posted at 17:28h, 12 June Reply

    Lovely photos, Simon! Keep up with the good work!

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