The Ape Calessino and Italy’s rebirth

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.

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