Vespa is not just a word, it is a community

Vespa is a word – rather, a concept – which is absolutely international, and which represents the dreams and the desire for freedom of entire generations. Vespa is not a scooter; it is ‘the’ scooter. The very name Vespa evokes memories of youth; transports the mind to thoughts of free time, beautiful weather, the pleasure of driving in the open air with the sun and wind on the skin – as shown by Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, riding a Vespa around the Colosseum in the 1952 film Roman Holiday, or the sensual Anita Ekberg escaping the paparazzi in the famous shot from Fellini’s master peace, La Dolce Vita.

It is extraordinary that the Vespa, having been involved in so much fashion, never passed out of fashion. At first it was green and not wondrously beautiful, a symbol of transformation from war to peace. Then it became white and elegant, a product that imposed the stile italiano: from necessity to style, the recipe for the good life. Then it dressed itself in silver and was transformed into a myth of elegance, youth and adventure. The young man riding it was – and is – a modern Prince Charming, the fiancé that every girl would like to have; the exciting ‘Latin Lover’ who takes female tourists pillion on the beaches of Emilia Romagna. But communication initiatives were not restricted to the cinema: effective mass advertising campaigns were invented, like the one based on the slogan ‘Vespizzatevi’ (Vespa yourselves!) Piaggio also succeeded in creating a spontaneous customer organisation: Vespa Clubs, for example, with their own magazines and facilities. The Italian union of Vespa riders was born in 1949 and the same year, Miss Graziella Bontempo from Naples was elected the first Miss Vespa.

The Vespa had been consecrated as a recognisable symbol of Italian-ness: joyful, popular, uninhibited.

Truly an Esperanto among objects, the Vespa, initially presented as solid (it is still made of metal), long-lasting and adventurous, appealed to pioneers during the ’40s and ’50s. In the 60’s it reflected the Italy of change, of pleasure-seeking children, and was transformed into a toy with real performance, expressing novelty, modernity and anti-conformism. In the ’70s and ’80s it turned into an object of nostalgia; and in this decade, with technological innovations and the 1996 launch of the sleek new Vespa ET2 and ET4, it has become revolutionary, riding with all its appeal intact into the third miflennium. For very many people, the Vespa is the perfect combination of style, design and elegant functionafity. The Vespa is timeless: it transcends the capriciousness of fashion.

Source of article: http://www.eurograduate.com/lifestyle/article.asp?id=22&pid=5