Vespa Grand Tour

Spazio Museo Vespa - Rome

Spazio Museo Vespa - Rome

Nothing to do with Clarkson in this instance, mercifully, the term "Grand Tour" refers to the 17th and 18th century custom of a traditional tour of Europe, by well to do young European men of sufficient means and stature, when they had come of age (usually about 21 years old). Equally well-off young women (debutantes), or those from more humble origins, who could find a sponsor, could also partake, Beginning around 1660, this "rite of passage" was very popular with the privileged few until eventually it fell out of favour in the 1840s, with the advent of affordable rail and steamship travel.

Francis Basset on the Grand Tour in Rome (Artist - Pompeo Batoni 1778)

Francis Basset on the Grand Tour in Rome (Artist - Pompeo Batoni 1778)

Interior of Rome’s Pantheon in 18th century painted by Giovanni Paolo Panini

Interior of Rome’s Pantheon in 18th century painted by Giovanni Paolo Panini

VVC member and regular JOURNAL contributor, Rod Gillan, undertook his own modern day tour of Europe, but rather than taking in the wonders of the Renaissance and the smorgasbord of delicious foods and wines, Rod was instead more taken with the menagerie of different Vespas displayed on the streets of the places he visited! I'm sure Rod was stopped in his tracks by the works of Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Botticelli et al but for our sakes, I'm glad he took the time to record on camera the Vespas he saw on his travels. It's something I'm guilty of when travelling; always with an eye out, and ear listening out for that all too familiar "pop-pop" of a Vespa's 2-stroke engine..

Corsica
Corsica

Corsica

“Last summer my better half and I spent a week on a cruise in the Mediterranean. Each day the ship pulled into a different port, enabling us to do some sightseeing in locations such as Cannes, Barcelona, Rome and the island of Corsica. During these excursions I took the opportunity to take a few snaps of any Vespas I came across. All of these appeared to be daily riders and in excellent condition, mainly due to the warm climate keeping the dreaded rust at bay.

Interesting 80s grab rail cover..

Interesting 80s grab rail cover..

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Motovespa TX200

Motovespa TX200

Above photos taken by Rod in Barcelona

Above photos taken by Rod in Barcelona

I was also fortunate to be able to visit the Vespa museum in Rome, known locally as The Spazio Museo Vespa, and well worth a visit. Entry is free and the owner, Claudio Sarra, has displayed over a dozen of his restored and original Vespas, in an attempt to conserve and highlight the heritage of Italy’s scootering past.”

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Spazio Museo Vespa - Rome

Spazio Museo Vespa - Rome

Thanks Rod, good of you to send in your holiday snaps and the excellent tip for when we are next in Rome!

Please send in more of the same everyone - personally I love to see Vespas abroad and am always interested by the various models and styles of adornment that can be seen. Hi-res photos please to vvceditor@veteranvespaclub.cm

Cannes

Cannes

Cagliari, Sardinia

Cagliari, Sardinia

Cagliari, Sardinia

Cagliari, Sardinia

Words and photos by Rod Gillan.