The idea of the Vespa was born with the approaching of the end of the World War II, when Enrico Piaggio needed to find a possible solution to restart production, by converting his purely military factories such as the largest one in Pontedera. Enrico Piaggio commissioned Corradino D'Ascanio to design a scooter that was not uncomfortable and bulky like a motorbike. He asked for an absolutely original and revolutionary project, from there was born the first project of the Vespa, then conceived in Pontedera in April 1946. The name Vespa was coined by Piaggio himself, after he exclaimed, seeing the first prototype which had a very wide central part to accommodate the driver and a slim “waistline”, "It looks like a wasp!". (Vespa is the Italian word for wasp).
The Vespa is put on sale starting from April 23, 1946, and from then until 1951, year of the establishment of the first Vespa Club its spread is continually growing. Insiders and experts capture in the Vespa the realization of a brilliant idea. In the 50s the production definitely takes off and also the foreign markets are looking with interest at the birth of the scooter, which arouses curiosity and admiration, the Times called it "a completely Italian product, as we have not seen since the Roman chariot".
Vespa is above all an event that involves the history of costume. During those years Vespa became a synonym for the Dolce Vita, the foreign reporters described Italy as "the country of the Vespa" and the Vespa's role in the costume, and not only Italian, is documented by the presence of the vehicle in hundreds of movies of the era. And it is a story that still continues today. Visiting the Italian cities, while enjoying a nice ride on a Vespa is a dream shared worldwide.
To the Italian Vespa Day of '51 rushed less than twenty thousand Vespa riders. Riding a Vespa was synonymous of freedom, agile exploitation of space and easier social relationships. The new scooter had become a cultural phenomenon, characterizing its age: in the cinema, in literature and in advertising, the Vespa appeared countless times among the most significant symbols of a changing society which wants to get out from the destruction of the war.Soon the Vespa was produced in 13 countries and marketed in 114 worldwide and its production will no longer be abandoned, now surpassing the 3,500,000 Vespa 50cc figure produced in different models and versions. Today Vespa is more than ever a global brand, it is a true citizen of the world and continues, among others, to be produced in the historic factory in Pontedera in Tuscany, where it was born without interruption since 1946.
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