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Vespa is a popular brand of scooter that was launched in 1946 by the company, Piaggio. Its name is the Italian word for “wasp.” Vespas are probably the most well-known name in scooters and have inspired many imitators throughout its long history. Piaggio began as a ship builder, later moving into rail and aircraft. After World War II, many aircraft manufacturers weren't permitted to produce planes. Therefore, this industrious company changed its direction and began manufacturing motorcycles to fill an increasing need for inexpensive transportation. The inspiration for the first Vespa came from a common WWII American military bike, the Cushman Model 53. However, the designer never liked motorcycles, so he set out to make it stand out in both appearance and practicality.
The first Vespa had gears on the handlebars, with a step-through design. It had floorboards, leg shields, and an enclosed engine in order to protect the clothing of riders, particularly women with flowing skirts. These scooters became quite popular in a relatively short amount of time. Their appeal only grew when they were seen in popular movies of the time such as Roman Holiday and La Dolce Vita. Today there are 12 different Vespa models across six families. These families are the Sprint, GTS, GTS Super, Primavera, 946, and PX. You're sure to find the Vespa that fits your needs and your style.