The core of this museum is one of the icons of European young people in the 1950s and 60s – the Vespa scooter. The Piaggio company originated in 1884 as a ship-fitting concern at Sestri Ponente near Genoa. It then turned to manufacture railway locomotives and carriages, and during the First World War became a large-scale maker of aircraft. In 1924 the company moved to Pontedera in north-west Tuscany between Pisa and Florence, where Rinaldo Piaggio took over an existing engineering factory. The company’s production facilities were severely damaged in the Second World War. While they were being rebuilt Enrico Piaggio (1905-65) determined to manufacture a product at a modest cost that would appeal to mass markets in a Europe still recovering from the disruption of war. The Vespa (the Italian word means wasp) motor scooter, introduced in 1946, was designed by the aeronautical engineer Corradino D’Ascanio (1891-1981). It sold widely throughout western Europe and many owners became devoted to the brand. In 1959 the Piaggio company was acquired by the Agnelli family, owners of FIAT, and the museum was built at the suggestion of Giovanni Alberto Agnelli (1964-97), who was the chairman of Piaggio before his untimely death. The company has experienced several takeovers in recent decades, but it remains the largest European manufacturer of two-wheeled vehicles. The museum is located in a former toolmakers’ shop at the factory and features a variety of company products including a Piaggio P148 aircraft and a diesel electric railcar, but the main emphasis is on the Vespa scooter, and on motorcycles made by the Gilera company which Piaggio took over in 1969.