The VESPA can be said to be a direct result of necessity and the creative spirit of a country devastated by war.
La Storia: Rinaldo Piaggio knew about building engines. Since WWI his plant in Pontedera (Tuscany) was a center for aeronautical production but after WWII the total destruction of the company’s factories by Allied bombing caused Piaggio’s son Enrico to make a decision to leave the aeronautical field and focus on Italy’s urgent need for recovery. He wanted to develop an affordable and modern method of transportation to move Italy beyond the years of war. In 1946 an engineer named Corradino D’Ascanio, who by the way could not stand motorcycles, presented Enrico with an aircraft-inspired design to get Italy moving again. A vehicle with a unibody steel chassis, elements of an airplane’s landing gear and a certain style that was very different.
When Enrico Piaggio saw D’Ascanio’s design with its unique body shape, high pitched two-stroke engine and a steering handle that resembled an antennae, he remarked “Sembra una Vespa!” (“It looks like a wasp!”) and one of the great icons of Italian style was born. More than 16 million Vespas’s have been produced worldwide making it one of Italy’s most recognizable images and a part of design history .