What to expect from Piaggio Vespa Museum in Pontedera near Pisa in Italy: so much. And the best, a regular visit to the museum is free! Yes, you can visit the Vespa Museum in Italy for free! If this is not already reason enough to visit the museum, it definitely is a place of pilgrimage for motorists from all over the world. Who doesn’t love a Vespa though? Those fun, colourful, small vehicles, are perfect to mobilise the masses. Pontedera itself is a small city near Pisa in the italian region of Tuscany. What can such a small city with less than 30.000 inhabitants be famous for? Exactly a worldwide loved device, the Vespa! Its manufacturing company Piaggio has its headquarters and production plant in the city, hence why you nowadays can find the Piaggio Vespa Museum in Pontedera.
a bit about the History of Piaggio and Vespa
Piaggio was founded in January of 1884 by Rinaldo Piaggio. They didn’t build the Vespa from the very start, they only launched it in 1946. The rise in popularity of the Vespa let it grow from a line of a single-model motor scooter to a full-blown brand. Besides Vespa these companies belong to Piaggio: Aprilia, Derbi, Gilera, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio as well as commercial Piaggio vehicles. Piaggio now has more than seven thousand employees worldwide and international production plants. But two-wheeled vehicles were not what they initially produced. Piaggio started out with the manufacturing of train carriages and locomotives, also during the wars for the military sector. They also produced, or partially still produce, planes (aeroplanes and seaplanes), initially under other licenses, but later progressed their own designed vehicles. One of their current planes is the P180 Avanti EVO by Piaggio Aerospace. For further information about the company Piaggio, I can highly recommend a visit to their official website: piaggiogroup.com/en
What the Piaggio Vespa Museum in Pontedera is about
The non-profit museum tells visitors the story of Piaggio. From when it was first founded in the Genoa region in the north-west of Italy, to the move to Pontedera near Pisa and the launch of the endlessly famous Vespa. Just ten years after its inauguration, in 1956, they already sold 1 million units. That’s a massive deal, mobilizing Italians and people worldwide, especially in the following years after World War II. What supported and led to their popularity. Italy had its first mass-produced motorised vehicle and mobilised the masses not only nationally but internationally.
my visit to the Piaggio Vespa Museum near Pisa
When arriving at Pontedera train station, head left and follow the signs towards Piaggio Museum. It’s just a mere 5-minute walk from the station. And now you finally stand in front of it, the famous Museum known as Vespa Museum. Even though it is the Piaggio Museum and represents thematically the whole big Piaggio company with all its subsidiaries. But who is to blame, the Vespa scooter is their big hit. For sure fans will call this place of pilgrimage Vespa Museum!
As the entrance to the Piaggio Vespa Museum in Pontedera is free of charge, you can easily enter the museum without having to wait in line for tickets and such. In a walking tour around the property, you are guided through the history of the already 138-year-old company. Besides bits into the history, you can also discover special models and receive a nice insight into Vespa and worldwide Vespa enthusiasts.
Read here more about how to book your visit to the museum in advance (a temporary coronavirus safety measure): How to book your visit to / guided tour at Piaggio Museum in Pontedera
How to reach the museum
Even if you are not a scooter driver yourself, or interested in museums about cars or vehicles, the Piaggio Vespa Museum in Pontedera is still highly recommended. The museum is not too technical if you do not want to, and a nice use of time. As Pontedera can be reached in just about 15 minutes from Pisa, and about 45 minutes from Florence, it’s a nice place for a half-day excursion. You should plan in around 1 hour for your visit to Vespa Museum Pontedera.
In another Post, I already wrote about how to travel to Pontedera.
current temporary exhibition: Vespa sounds cool
Until the beginning of October, you can visit the #VespaSoundsCool temporary exhibition at the beginning of Piaggio Museum in Pontedera. It features a few examples of how the iconic Vespa was used in movies and music-related sceneries over the past centuries. Exhibits include the Vespa in cooperation with musician Justin Bieber, or the Vespa from the song “Nel blu dip into di blu” by Mr. Volare Domenico Modugno from 1958.
You can check out a virtual tour of the temporary exhibition “Vespa sounds cool” at: museopiaggio.it/vespa-sounds-cool