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The Vespa: More than a Scooter

“Dammi una Vespa e ti porto in vacanza
Ma quanto è bello andare in giro con le ali sotto ai piedi
Se hai Vespa Special che ti toglie i problemi
Ma quanto è bello andare in giro per i colli bolognesi
Se hai una Vespa Special che ti toglie i problemi”
50 Special

It was the late nineties, and Lunapop sang “50 Special”, bringing to life the Italian admiration for a means of transport, which has now become an object of worship and design. They sang of freedom, of the Bolognese hilly landscapes and high school life, when nothing seems to go right and only your Vespa can save you from an overbearing mother, from school and even from friends. Who knows why we Italians are convinced that a Vespa can solve all problems!

Is this really so in reality? Of course, we are not entirely wrong. After all, who wouldn’t forget all of life’s problems when wandering across Italy’s curvy streets, or along the seafront, or even whizzing by the Colosseum on a bright red Vespa, the cliché from Roman Holiday. And finally, feeling in the blink of an eye Audrey Hepburn, frantically in search of love and the Dolce Vita in Italy.

The Vespa is a real Italian myth. Born from a meeting between two great men, Enrico Piaggio and Corradino D’Ascanio, a brilliant designer, the primary purpose of this two-wheeled vehicle was to restart post-war Italy. It has become much more, it is the most popular scooter in the world, and today its history is that of an Italian icon that runs parallel to the history of the country from the post-war period to today. A timeless icon that has gone through the changes in our country and that in part has written its customs and habits. Since its inception, the manufacturer has shown to be extremely attentive to communication and the image of the product. In fact, the first advertising poster, in 1946, portrays a woman riding a Vespa; not just any one, but a working woman. The message is certainly strong from a socio-political point of view, and comes directly to the consumer, in a country where women have just acquired the right to vote for the first time. However, the cinema, rather than the image of the brand, created Vespa’s definitive success. In a few years, the Vespa became the symbol of Italy in the renaissance phase and appears in many films and postcards. In particular, William Wyler’s film ‘Roman Holiday’, where the legendary Audrey Hepburn crosses the capital with Gregory Peck on an unforgettable white Vespa, in 1953 the commercial for the manufacturer.

Although many versions have been produced over the years, today the Vespa is synonymous with the “Italian Dream” as well as representing the “Made in Italy” brand. No tourist is immune to the attraction of renting the legendary two-wheeler, even just for one day, to immerse themselves in the charm of the cities, in personal and unforgettable “Roman holidays”. Those who own one, on the other hand, do not miss the opportunity to participate in the rallies dedicated to Vespa, an opportunity to travel to Italy, especially during the summer. The secondary roads and the varied scenarios encountered along the way can be a unique experience. That’s right, because for an Italian, the Vespa, which translates to wasp, allows you to travel “with wings under your feet”, savoring the landscape that surrounds us. all three hundred and sixty degrees. Just when the air caresses your face and your hair flies in all possible directions, in that moment, only the Vespa exists. The vehicle has thus taken on a real connotation of an undemanding means of transport, but much more elegant than a simple scooter, becoming a real image of style.

Cremonini sang of the Bolognese hills, and if we were to retrace the same journey today, we would surely feel like him. Enraptured by the beauty and freedom that one breathes deeply, we would end up wishing not to lose even a second. Certainly Cremonini, leaving Bologna, and traveling a few kilometers from the city, would have found himself immersed in the green hills of Bologna. Less famous than the historic center, but certainly equally fascinating and rich in history and typical products. For many a place of passage to reach Tuscany, they contain stories and legends of pilgrims and traders and are dotted with hidden paths, interrupted here and there by hermitages and sanctuaries. The Bolognese hills really offer a lot for those who love nature, history and good food.

For example, La Via degli Dei runs through the Bolognese hills, is a must for cyclists and for those who love to take long walks. The Via degli Dei connects Bologna to Florence in just over 130 km. This path is chosen by those who are more inclined to sporting life and total nature immersion. On a Vespa, on the other hand, one could admire the route and the surrounding landscape with unusual slowness. 

The real jewel of the Bolognese hills remains San Luca. Visible even from the motorway, its undeniable charm could become the perfect backdrop for a Sunday Vespa ride on a cool spring day in full sun. The sanctuary of San Luca located on the Colle or Monte della Guardia, a temple which served as a destination for pilgrimages of those devoted to the Blessed Virgin. In addition to being able to reach it by Vespa, by car, or through the use of public transport, it can be reached by walking through the 3.5 km arcade that connects Porta Saragozza to San Luca, a candidate for UNESCO heritage. The Sanctuary reached by Vespa corresponds to a romantic getaway, which allows you to admire Bologna and the hills from above, surrounded by the classical beauty of the temple, which certainly does not go unnoticed.

If your Vespa, on the other hand, wants to take you to more unique and lesser-known places, Rocchetta Mattei is the one for you. Formerly home of Count Mattei, reminiscent of a medieval castle, it was built in the late nineteenth century on the ruins of an ancient fortress. Mattei was in fact a man eager to lead a life as a castellan, full of leisure and culture. Today, the building knows how to bewitch every visitor, catapulting him into an unusual atmosphere, similar to that of the Roman thermal baths.

But the Vespa remains synonymous with freedom, and the day can continue under the banner of visits to wineries, in fact the Pignoletto and the renowned white truffle are found here. To end the day on a Vespa, go for a rich and tasty aperitif at Fienile Fluò. As if by magic, after a whole day on the Vespa, you can sit back and contemplate, at sunset, overlooking the same hills that you traveled during the day, along with a platter of local hams and cheeses and a glass full of wine.


Rocchetta Mattei

Fienile Fluò