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Pontedera is an industrial Toscan town known for the factory of Vespa, the famous scooter brand. The company Piaggio developed the Vespa after World War II as a means of affordable transportation to aid in the re-construction of war torn Italy. The industrial history of the Piaggio Company actually began sixty years earlier in 1884 when they started making interiors, cabinets and fine woodwork for luxury liners and other sailing ships. In the 1920s, Enrico Piaggio and aeronautical engineer Corradino D'Ascanio, the two men who would later be responsible for developing the Vespa motor scooter, joined the company. Did you know that D'Ascanio, that the man who designed the first Vespa, designed the first successful hovering helicopter in 1930? Such innovations ended during WW II when the Pontedera factory was demolished by allied bombing. Recovery from this devastation was the driving force that led to the invention of the Vespa! The first prototype MP5 (Moto Piaggio 5), developed in 1945, became known as the Paperino (Donald Duck). The MP6 was labeled by Enrico as the Vespa because it looked to him like a wasp (vespa in Italian).


Pontedera, Pisa, Italy

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