SCOOT, TO BOOT
When my wife and I vacationed to Tuscany in 2005, I knew we were a match when she agreed to detour from our travel plans in order to visit the Piaggio Museum located 40 miles west of Florence. In those days I was obsessed with motor scooters and badly wanted to see the birthplace of one of the premier marques in history: Vespa.
Dating back to the early 1940s, the name Vespa was coined when company founder, Enrico Piaggio (not to be confused with Enrico Palazzo from The Naked Gun), saw the original MP6 scooter for the first time. “Sembra una vespa!” he exclaimed. “It looks like a wasp!”
Vespa’s ascent to the throne of the highest regarded scooter in the land wasn’t by accident. Over the decades, the scooter designs and powerplants have evolved to meet the needs of ever-changing emission regulations, but they have always stuck by a quality unibody construction. Made from pressed steel, the monocoque features an integrated engine cowling, floorboards, and front fairing that gives each bike structural rigidity and longevity. It may not be light, but it is strong.
As an aside, a visit to the Vespa museum is a step back in time and includes arguably the most famous bike of all time, a 1962 model that was painted and signed by Salvador Dalì before two Spaniards, Santiago Guillen and Antonio Veciana, took it on a tour of Europe.
Today’s Vespas are rounder and more contemporary looking, like this recently released Yacht Club edition that comes in a variety of engine sizes and is most fetching painted sail white with marine blue accents. If you want a reliable scooter that can net 71 mpg and give you ultimate style points at the grocery store, there’s nothing better than Vespa. Or, if you’re like me, you can just buy memento wristwatch.
GTS Edition starts at $7,000 Primavera Edition starts at $4,000