Now I just love Italian scooters, especially models from the quintessential Italian brands of Vespa and Lambretta, come to think of it, I’ve always loved them, well from my early teens at least. I remember watching Quadrophenia for the first time and thinking “I’ve gotta get myself one of those scooters, when I can afford it”! I started off with an Aprilia Habana Custom 50cc, okay it wasn’t a Vespa or a Lambretta but it was still pretty darn cool, the last scooter I owned was a beautiful Vespa PX 125 which was sprayed in the colours of the Italian flag, and believe me, it was a real head turner.
Sadly that scooter has long gone and since then prices of classic Vespa’s and Lambretta’s have rocketed, especially the Lambretta’s, classic scooters have now become big business. I suppose I have gotten used to seeing pristine scooters on ride out’s and in scooter magazines, but on my recent trip to Sicily I came across 100’s of battered and beaten machines that were used for nothing more than general day to day graft, as opposed to just being some scooter enthusiasts show pony!
In Sicily, just as on the Italian mainland scooters are mainly used as an essential mode of transport, don’t get me wrong, you come across plenty of pristine bikes, such as the beautiful fully restored Vespa Gran Sport that I spotted in Taormina, but on the whole the majority of scooters that you come across are nothing more than practical workhorses. I really enjoyed seeing these bikes in their naturally worn state so I decided to take a few snaps of some lovely old Vespa’s for your enjoyment, yes they may be bruised and battered, but they also have bags of character, and some of them have been in their owners possession for decades and are loved every bit as much as the pristine show pieces that you come across during the British scooter season.