Vespa and Cinema: a Great Icon Meets Cult Movies

Red-Vespa

Vespa and Cinema: a Great Icon Meets Cult Movies

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck riding through the traffic in Rome on a Vespa 125. It’s 1953 and the cult movie Roman Holiday transforms the Vespa, launched by Piaggio in 1946, in an icon and a social phenomenon.

roman-holiday-poster

The romance between the world famous scooter and cinema is only at the beginning. The Vespa is ‘co-starring’ in La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini, 1959), To Catch a Thief (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958), Scarface (Brian De Palma, 1983), The Interpreter (Sydney Pollack, 2005) and, more recently, The American, starring George Clooney.

Big Vespa

Big Vespa, Museo Piaggio

Vespa is the result of Enrico Piaggio’s visionary talent and CorradinoD’Ascanio‘s genius. After World War II and the subsequent economic downturn, Enrico Piaggio wanted to build a low cost means of transportation, leveraging on the mechanical and engine know-how developed by the company in the aeronautics industry. Corradino D’Ascanio was a talented aeronautical engineer and inventor. The two started a collaboration to design and conceive a new light mobility vehicle.

Sports Vespa

 

After a few prototypes and the necessary adjustments, Piaggio launched the Vespa which soon became one of the most interesting success story and design icons of the 20th Century.

The ‘Piaggio Museum’ (Museo Piaggio) in Pontedera, near Pisa, guides its visitors through a journey recalling the history of Vespa, from the early stages to its more recent models.

The guide led us through the Museum, telling us the fascinating story of the Piaggio Family and Corradino D’Ascanio, showing us how the design and technical specifications of the scooter evolved over the years.

Suddenly, my eyes got caught by some colorful and creative designs: 14 unique models created for the 2001 ‘Vespart’ contest.

I can’t stop looking at this beautifully decorated and original scooters.

Vespa Mucca Pazza

Vespa Mucca Pazza, Museo Piaggio

The winner of the contest was Nicola Di Carlo, with ‘Pezzo Unico’, underlining the uniqueness of the Vespa design, so beautiful that it didn’t need more decorations. However, I fell in love with ‘Mucca Pazza’ (‘Mad Cow’), the model that won the second prize. Funny and ironic… Reminding me of my childhood in Switzerland… That’s the most beautiful icon I can think at!

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Piaggio Museum: Practical Information:
Museo Piaggio is located in Pontedera, 25 km from Pisa.
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Entrance: Free
Guided visit (Highly recommended):  Booking: [email protected] (Euro 20 up to 10 people)
 
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Note: my visit to the Museo Piaggio was part of the Blog Trip “Like a Local Between Pisa & Lucca”  organised and hosted by Casa Gentili (a B&B near Pisa) and Avventurosa (social media marketing specialists). However, all views and opinions expressed are uniquely personal.
 
 
 

Travel addict and passionate about photography, Simon Falvo started Wild About Travel back in 2009. Leveraging her strong PR background, she developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Social Media Marketing. Besides travel writing SImon holds workshops and trainings, she collaborated with tourism boards for digital marketing campaigns and participated as a speaker at several events.

10 Comments
  • A Journey Through The Vespa History
    Posted at 19:54h, 27 March Reply

    […] 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. […]

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    Posted at 11:35h, 24 October Reply

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  • Jennifer
    Posted at 13:35h, 02 April Reply

    Love this post! I’ve kind of always wanted a Vespa but I think we typically get too much rain in Friuli Venezia Giulia for it to be practical.

  • Dawn
    Posted at 07:13h, 03 April Reply

    My pick would have been Mad Cow too. We have lots of Frisian cows about with those black and white spots on them. Have never ridden a Vespa but I have ridden a cow – and other than a few problems with the steering it was an interesting experience!

  • Sonya
    Posted at 21:18h, 02 April Reply

    Simon, gorgeous post! I’ve always been fascinated by Vespas.

  • Jeremy B
    Posted at 20:34h, 02 April Reply

    That’s awesome! I love the Mad Cow vespa with all the areas of the cow to eat. Not sure if I would ride one of those. Helps in traffic but have you seen Italian drivers?! 🙂

    • waitinginthedark
      Posted at 20:48h, 02 April Reply

      Hey Jeremy, thank you! Love the Mad Cow too. Don’t know how visible in the picture, but it also has the traditional cow bell under the seat 🙂
      I used to ride a scooter but I stopped. You’re right, Italians are mad drivers! LOL! Now I only go by bike, which indeed is just as risky… But at least I’m going slower…

  • Ciki
    Posted at 11:59h, 02 April Reply

    Totally LOVE the vespa.. so romantic and it really is an icon! In fact, my hubby was talking about buying one the other day to beat the city traffic. Looks cool too;)

    • waitinginthedark
      Posted at 12:13h, 02 April Reply

      haha! then as soon as you have your Vespa, send me lots of pics!

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