Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Living La Vida Vespa

It has to be said that travel by Vespa is taking your life in your own hands. There is no special license needed to drive scooters in Italy and its painfully obvious. Scooter drivers are allowed to weave in and out of traffic which, if you are not used to that or paying attention, can really surprise you. On the other hand there is a freedom that comes with the Vespa lifestyle. They are fun and easy to drive, they get their own parking lots, they are gas mileage friendly, and you can take in a fantastic amount of scenery on every drive. And although they come in an array of the prettiest of pastel colors, they are not just for the ladies. I often see the most masculine of men in suits and ties with their briefcases strapped to the back dashing to and from meetings across town.
It is an icon of Italy and has been around since 1946 when there became an urgent need for a modern and affordable mode of transportation for the masses. Calling it 'Vespa' which means 'wasp' in Italian, it is practical and over the years has defiantly fulfilled its intended need. For example, In the summertime the police drive Vespas around to easily navigate the narrow cobblestone streets, much like we have motorcycle cops around the states. Vespa cops. Yes. Now a scooter is no powder blue Fiat Seicento for sure, but they are beautiful and, if you are wearing your helmet, fun.
*Check out this video of a drive around Naples threw a Vespa cam:*

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