The man who created the Vespa was born in 1891 in Popoli, a town in the Abbruzzo region, and was named Corradino D'Ascanio. He was interested in aviation early on, achieving a flight at 14 with a home made hang glider. He earned an engineering degree in 1914 in Torino and from 1920 to 1932 he designed helicopters. After World War II, Ferdinando Innocenti approached D'Ascanio to design the Lambretta scooter. This conflicted with D'Ascanio's vision of a different frame, so the engineer took his plans to Piaggio Co. in Tuscany and in 1946 the Vespa was born!
In 1953, the Vespa appeared in the film Roman Holiday and generated more than 100,000 sales. In the years to come, more models where in the market with different names like Paperino (Donald Duck) and Topolino (Mickey Mouse). In 2013, 18 million were produced to date.
Despite the overpowering success of the Vespa, D'Ascanio regretted that his aeronautics achievements went under appreciated. He died in Pisa in 1981 but he was buried in Popoli.