A museum dedicated to the iconic scooter that captures the imagination world-wide.! It is actually the Piaggio Museum, the company that manufacturers Vespas, so the displays fully cover the motor company that helped define post-war Italy. While Piaggio was in business for several decades before WWII, it thrived after the war when the country needed economic transportation to help rebuild. Enter the various vehicles that fit unique needs and markets.
The Ape (pronunced AH-pay) for example, is a three-wheeled truck-type vehicle that runs on a motor scooter engine. With its little cargo bed that was available in covered or uncovered models, it was perfect for hauling things, merchandise, building materials, and deliveries. The Vespa, of course, served as personal transport to tool around the city and between towns. It was made famous worldwide when Audrey Hepburn jumped on one for a ride around Rome in Roman Holiday - and the fascination with the cute scooters never died.
What many don't know is that Piaggio also built train and airplane motors, and you can see a model of the Piaggio firetruck and full-size vintage motorcycles, too. The museum is in a redone factory space, with a good exhibit layout and industrial feel.
The bookstore is definitely a stop for enthusiasts to pick up literature, merchandise, and souvenirs bearing the Vespa insignia; you can find cool-looking keychains, gadgets and messenger bags, among other fun things.
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Address in Pontedera:
Viale Rinaldo Piaggio, 7.
Ph. (+39) 058 727 171.