Vespa scooter

Gender and social class

Gender and space

Piaggio, a company founded in 1884, initially devoted its activities to shipbuilding and rail carriages, and during the First World War, to the manufacture of airplanes. The company is the creator of the most iconic motorbike of all times: the Vespa.

Conceived of as an inexpensive vehicle that would contribute to the financial recovery of the Piaggio company, the Vespa was designed by the aeronautical engineer Corradino d’Ascanio and the designer Mario d’Este. The original model was based on the mini motorbikes used by airborne troops during the war. The name was coined by Enrico Piaggio, who, when he saw the wide front end and narrow body, exclaimed, “Sembra una vespa!” (“It looks like a wasp!”) The Vespa  appears in film as a symbol of freedom, ridden by some of the cinema’s most iconic actors in Roman Holiday (1953) and La Dolce Vita (1960), among others. The motorbike is the embodiment of style, individuality and the modern life.