Postcards from Italy

Italy’s Picture Perfect Wheels

From Absolut Vodka ads to Pixar films, nothing has been used to symbolize Italy’s unique knack for blending pragmatism with design like the iconic Vespa scooter and Fiat 500 compact car. And after the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Colosseum, nothing is more often photographed than a brightly painted Cinquecento or Vespa parked jauntily in narrow Roman backstreets or against the backdrop of a bustling historic piazza.

The timeless Vespa, created in 1946 by the Piaggio company, was a brilliant solution to two problems: Italy’s need to convert its wartime aeronautical industry into the one which manufactured civilian consumer products and the demand for a modern, affordable mode of transportation for the rapidly urbanizing population. Over the past 60 years, the Vespa has remained one of the most beloved scooters in Italy, the choice of provincial grandparents and metropolitan hipsters, alike.


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Fiat’s plucky 500 was the next step forward, as the Italian economy boomed in the postwar years and families could afford luxuries like automobiles and roadtrips. The original Fiat 500 was introduced in 1957 and produced until 1975, and Italy’s streets are still crowded with vintage models going strong 40 years after coming off the line. In 2007, Fiat began producing a new retro-style 500, with updated features but a design that is true to the original model.


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)


 \(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

On your next trip to Italy, see if you can resist snapping a picture of these whimsical workhorses. We certainly can’t!


(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Travel Specialists

Maria Landers

Brian Dore