I like scooters pretty much. Piaggio, Honda, Suzuki, and many many others are very functional and economic urban means of transportation. It is really very convenient to ride scooters living in a megalopolis. But my favorite one is Vespa definitely. This brand is Italian and it is produced by Piaggio. Vespa stands for wasp in Italian. The company started to manufacture the scooters of the type in the very beginning of the 1940s. It seems like these scooters are designed just perfectly. For me Vespa is some kind of cultural artifact of Italy.
Any of us has some stereotypical notions concerning Italian culture. It can be absolutely everything. For me it is an annual horse race held twice a year in Sienna, it is film movement of Neorealism, especially movies by Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, and of course it is perfect Italian design of the 1940s. No doubt Italy for me is related to Renaissance art and architecture. But my attention attracted mostly by Italian history and culture of the 20th century. And Vespa scooter is a part of this culture. When I hear Vespa I imagine a couple riding the scooter down the tiny streets of Florence. As you can see I have very romantic idea if this type of urban transportation.
Once surfing the Internet I was amazed to find out the way they used Vespa scooters in the 1950s and 1960s during the Suez campaign, war in Algeria and in Indochina. Also it was used by the Western militarists against Soviet Union threat. Butt mainly these Vespas were used by the French airborne forces. Thus Vespas were equipped with huge massive guns and recoilless rifles. And you know what? This type doesn’t look romantic at all. Vespa scooters are believed to be pretty movable and maneuverable as many other scooters. Obviously it can explain why militarists decided to use scooters in such a way. Thus they fitted about 800 Vespas in such a manner. These military Vespas were painted in green. And the whole view of the scooter reminds me of war. They were not very attractive but obviously they were helpful and useful. Strangely enough in case the gun was needed to be fired one had to pull over and stop otherwise it was useless to have a Vespa of this type.
If you are a big fan and collector of Vespas you can buy another military model available today just for 12 000 Euros. That’s pretty expensive.