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Roman Holiday by Vespa

La Dolce Vita
Camille Frame

Make like Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck and craft your own version of a magical Roman Holiday.

If you are in Rome on vacation, why not live adventurously and explore the city in an adrenaline charged way like a seasoned Roman? Zipping through the city on the back of a Vespa might be the best thing you do. Hop on. Let’s go.

Make this the year you make your Roman Holiday wishes come true and at the same time, wish the iconic Vespa a big happy birthday; the Vespa turned 68 years old in April, 2014.

The Vespa was originally debuted by Piaggio in Rome in 1946. Sales of the beloved motorino exploded once Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn rode past the Spanish Steps in the movie Roman Holiday.

The affinity for Vespa riding is alive and well in Italy.

There are many rental companies in Rome that will hire a Vespa. You will need a valid driver’s license, some nerve and a great deal of common sense.

Mastering the Vespa is an art form. Here are some rules for riding around Rome on a scooter:

  1. Wear a helmet. You don’t have a choice. It is required, for good reason. Driving in Rome can be dangerous.
  2. Prop the kickstand, keep both hands on the handlebars, and balance the scooter before giving it gas. Otherwise, risk propelling the Vespa unpiloted into the street. This hurts physically and emotionally! How embarrassing.
  3. Keep to the streets and mind the yellow paint. Pedestrian zones are restricted traffic areas (but, this is Rome!), as are bus lanes. Learn from the masters. If you watch before you ride, you’ll see almost everywhere is fair driving game.
  4. As a rule, rules are disregarded. Be attentive. Romans do not necessarily follow traffic laws or use hand signals, and are known for making lanes in between cars and veering in and out of traffic. Be overly cautious in the busy intersections.
  5. Once you get to your destination safely, parking is a breeze! The Vespa can fit almost anywhere and parking at the meters in Rome is free. Lock the wheel and have yourself a personal Roman Holiday!
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