With the Vespa in Rome

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With the Vespa in Rome

With the Vespa in Rome
La Dolce Vespa

Driving a scooter doesn’t have to be that bad. In the city, for example. Especially with this scooter in this city. The Vespa, it belongs to Rome like the Tiber and Colosseum.

Eva Breutel


Rome. As is well known, it is called the Eternal City. But it could just as easily be called “Roller City”. They come rushing from every corner, from rusty, ancient two-stroke engines to ultra-modern two-cylinder engines. One-way street, white line, red traffic light? Not an issue for the Roman scooter faction. The bumpy streets in the center, which Caesar probably had repaired last, belong to them. Cars are mercilessly encircled and loaded, motorcycles accepted as related, but even here you can still attract attention with a scooter. Namely with a simple Vespa. Piaggio has just completely revised them; Overall, it is the 198th version since 1946. After the war, the small, cheap two-stroke engine gave the Italians a little smell of freedom and adventure. The workplace at the other end of the city, the Sunday excursion to the country, the summer freshness by the sea ?? the Vespa made it possible. The current version with a water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine still looks similar to the old one. But it is significantly larger, more comfortable. And unfortunately not as cheap as it was back then. Right at the first set of traffic lights during the Rome tour, a greyed-out taxi driver stops in the opposite lane and causes a small traffic jam. “Che bella!” He calls out of the window. “Is it still made of tin?” Of course. The Vespa GT 200, born in 2003, also wears the almost indestructible metal cover. In addition, it is painted lime green, in the style of the 50s and 60s. At this time, the little scooter became world famous in the cinema and became a symbol of the Italian lifestyle. Initially with the US teardrop “Roman Holiday” from 1953, which the German distributor gave it the title “A Heart and a Crown”. Audrey Hepburn as a princess incognito and Gregory Peck as a reporter with a heart conquer Rome on a Vespa. The trio acted on a trailer and was filmed from the tractor; the main actors could not cope with the manual transmission. Today they would have no problems at filming locations such as the Trinità dei Monti church high above the Spanish Steps, because meanwhile the variomatic switches automatically. Across from the church is Alef, one of the city’s many portrait artists. The native Egyptian captures the Vespa on paper with nimble strokes. “A change from the many faces,” he says with a grin. “I also like the line.” Gradually a small crowd of people forms around him. Even among the younger ones, the Vespa arouses nostalgic feelings. “It just belongs to Rome like the Colosseum and the Tiber,” says biology student Marco, who no longer looks at his Suzuki Burgman. “Fellini made them immortal.” Federico Fellini wrote the second strip, which wrote the Vespa legend. In 1960 he shot the most famous Italian film of all time in Rome: “La Dolce Vita”. The exuberant Anita Ekberg embodied a Hollywood star, the stunning Marcello Mastroianni a journalist, the Vespa played itself. Because in the film there is always a whole pack of reporters after Ekberg ?? contemporary, of course, by scooter. One of them was called Paparazzo, and Fellini made him immortal too, because his name is now a synonym for the intrusive photographer. The Vespa digs through the heated traffic chaos in Fellini’s footsteps. Via Veneto, Largo Fellini, Piazza del Popolo, Colosseum. At the traffic lights, the Roman colleagues politely leave her a seat in the first row, as befits a living legend. But at the start it suddenly puts an end to the classic performance: Thanks to 20 hp and a lot of power from the low revs, it usually has a pleasantly far ahead. Devotional pause at the Fontana di Trevi, where the Ekberg took her night bath in the fountain. To the chagrin of the Roman city administration, because many tourists try to do the same today, but do not look half as good and are severely whistled back. In contrast to the times of “La Dolce Vita”, the area around the fountain is closed to traffic. But even the Roman law enforcement officers cannot withstand the Vespa for long, as an exception it is allowed to roll very slowly past the Fontana. The Roman Scooter Day ends on Via Veneto in the Cafe de Paris. Paparazzo and Co. of the Ekberg, who stayed opposite in the Hotel Excelsior, lay in wait here. Today there are only nepps lurking tourists, but at least there is a Vespa in front of the cafe again ?? just like in “La Dolce Vita”. And like Rome itself, it also exudes its very own, unmistakable charm. They just go well together, the Eternal City and the Eternal Scooter.

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