Aside from the Roman Coliseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, pizzas and pastas, which is part of the Italian cuisine, the gondolas that fare the Venetian canals, well known artists from Italy, their famous paintings or literary works, and other symbolisms and icons which represent the Italian culture, the Vespa claims a place as an icon of the popular and contemporary Italian culture. Italy would not be the same without the Vespas buzzing in the streets of the country (Romero, 2007). People would not have known that the highly esteemed Vespa emerged from the disorderly and frenzied Italy after the second World War.
This paper shall be reviewing the historical events that heralded the development of the Vespa, how it survived the demands of the automotive industry over the years, and how it evolved to be a fashion icon reminiscent of the Italian culture. The Vespa emerged in an economically challenged Italy struggling to recover from the crippled automobile industry due to the World War II aftershock.
The creativity of Enrico Piaggio has led to the design of an inexpensive type of transportation that would answer the crisis in the automotive market that the country is experiencing.
In order to construct the design that Piaggio created, he wielded the expertise of Corradino d’Ascanio, who was an aeronautical engineer, to construct the first model based on Piaggio’s design (Vespa of California). This marked the development of the first Vespa in 1946. The name Vespa was derived from its physical appearance. Apparently, the Vespa looked like a wasp.
Hence, “vespa,” which is the Italian word for “wasp. ” (Vespa Miami) From its first production in 1946, the Vespa continued to grow and evolve with time.
Throughout the years, the Vespa has undergone several changes in its design, physical make-up, structure, functioning, etc. Moreover, the Vespa has reached worldwide popularity as it was successful in capturing the attention of consumers all over the way, and was instrumental in providing for an iconic representation of Italy all over the world. The development of Vespa was designed in order to transport men and women alike. It also aimed to carry a passenger and was designed in order to avoid the passengers from being streaked with dirt.
The Vespa, unlike the ordinary motorcycle, which noisily buzzes on the street, is not as noisy. The Vespa during that time was also stylish and inexpensive. Therefore, people saw it as the representation of inexpensive elegance and luxury. (Vespa Miami) Worldwide, the Vespa scooter has suddenly become the symbol for freedom and peaceful and harmonious social relationships, which actually emerged after the war in the same time that the scooter was developed. It became the icon for goodness as it became known after chaos and great depression has diminished. Since then, the Vespa was used in advertising, movies, etc.
and became a model for creativity and artistry. The popular organization, Macintosh, also opted to use Vespa as a form of strategic advertising scheme. It appeared in magazine and book covers, and numerous well-known celebrities and artists were seen riding the esteemed scooter. This meaningful presence of Vespa in almost all aspects of the social strata made it even more popular and demanded for. (Vespa Miami) The Vespa’s popularity in people of all walks of life pushed designers to continue changing and reinventing the face of Vespa in order to cope up with the worldwide changes over time.
However, the overall feel and image of the Vespa still remains. The iconic Vespa still symbolize freedom, a relaxed and carefree state of mind, which Italians claim, represents the Italian culture. Several automotive specialty stores have sprung up all over the globe to provide Vespa merchandise. Numerous people also value their Vespas; even the old ones that some brilliant entrepreneurs decided to make business and leisure opportunities out of it by establishing restoration shops for Vespa models. (Vespa Miami) Vespas are popular for the top-notch and one of a kind “service” that it provides.
Paolo Rosetti, an Italian writer, who is fond of collecting numerous Vespa scooters, wrote an article about it with observations regarding the quality service that these smug Italian-made scooters provide. According to Rosetti, the Vespa is a piece of art that makes him reminisce past experiences and remind him of Italy and his childhood. Rosetti has expressed how the Vespa, although not a historic building, painting or literary work, represents the ideal culture of the European country. Proud as he is about the Italian Vespa, he continued to reveal what makes the Vespa famous, not only in his beloved country but also all over the world.
Rosetti proudly stated that Vespas were designed to protect the engines from dirt, protect the foot, and provides protection from the wind. Not only is the Vespa highly functional, but it also is attractive, stylish, and sophisticated. (Rosetti, 2008) Jackson Mahr, another writer who patronizes the Vespa, also reveals some advantages that come with the Vespa. The noiseless Vespa is very adept in going around the streets even with heavy traffic because of its capacity to fit in narrow roads or alleys.
Moreover, the seats of Vespas are too much comfortable while maintaining the stylish essence of luxury, where Italians are known of. Most goods that are created in Italy are all about the lifestyle, and the Vespa is one such example. Vespas also come with “splashguards” which protects Vespa riders from being speckled with dirt, mud, water, etc. that they might run to on the road. (Mahr, 2005) One of the latest developments of Vespa is its evolution to become an environment-friendly mode of transportation.
Due to the issues of pollution and global warming, the Vespa was reinvented in order to adhere to the guidelines and policies of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Doug Davidson claimed, based on his experience of using the improved model of the Vespa, that it is cleaner burning as compared to other motorcycles or scooters and that the average distance that other scooters reach is less than how far the Vespa can go. (Romero, 2007) Undeniably, the Vespa has survived the past and still remains a symbol for rising above chaos and representing something that speaks of freedom and peaceful social relationships.
At present, it still continues to become an inspiration to everyone who believes in the profundity the Vespa can provide, aside from the obvious observable functions that it is capable of doing. It is an icon of Italian culture, and as it becomes part of the fashion industry that represents luxury and elegance, Italian culture moves on to dominate the world by the widespread popularity of the Vespa.
Mahr, J. (2005). Vespa Viva. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from Brandchannel. Website: http://www. businessweek. com/innovate/content/nov2005/id20051109_811923. htm Romero, M. (2007).The Return of the Vespa. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from Model D LLC. Website: http://www. popcitymedia. com/features/0725vespas. aspx Rossetti, P. (2008). Italian Job. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from Al Nisr Publishing LLC. Website: Vespa Miami. (2008). Vespa History. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from ADX Media Internet. Website: http://www. vespamiami. com/vespa_history. php Vespa of California. (2008). A Brief History of the Vespa. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from Vespa of California, Inc. Website: http://www. vespaofca. com/story. htm
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