The Ape Calessino and Italy’s rebirth

piaggio-ape-calessino-1953-02

Today, our gallery is dedicated to an Ape Calessino made by Piaggio in 1953.

This evolution of the legendary Vespa met the needs of post-war Italy – where strong demand for new means of transportation combined with limited available income.

It was Celestino D’Ascanio, the brilliant mind behind Vespa, who had the intuition of adding a third wheel and flat-bed structure to the world’s most famous scooter: thus in 1948 the Ape was born – the first of many models, some of which are still on the market today.

In the same year, Piaggio launched the Calessino (meaning small “calesse”, i.e. gig, a two-wheeled carriage drawn by one horse): it was an Ape designed for short-range people transportation, and proved especially useful in the country’s holiday destinations as they came back to life and began attracting a growing number of tourists from abroad.

And that’s how the Calessino became a symbol of Italy’s rebirth after the war, and was hugely successful in the whole world thanks to its incredible ease of use and elegance.

Photos via:
https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/ny17/auction/lots/r022-1953-piaggio-ape-calessino

February 12, 2019