Italian Government Tourist Board North America 

HOME

Italian design

Cars, scooters and ...

Italian style has always been associated with creativity and elegance.
One of the most successful areas of Italian design has been automobiles, where designers like Pininfarina have created works of art like the Ferrari and more down-to-earth cars like the Peugeot 205 and the Fiat Uno. There are 10 top design firms for cars, all concentrated around Turin, the center of Italian auto manufacturing.

In addition to cars, the firms design everything from forklifts to sailboats. Creativity has been applied to the bodywork, starting from the sheets that cover the frames, to the building of a limited quantity of prototypes, up to the project of the automobile. Very often, engineers' talent influences modern design, as in the case of Pininfarina, Michelotti, Zagato and Frua, who are directly involved in the automobile design. Others, such as Bertone and Ghia, commit to successful designers such as Giugiaro, Fioravanti or Scaglione. So far, concept cars have always contributed to show the designers' talent, the engineers' vision for style and safety and the great potentials of the Italian automobile industry.

"Italian design has become a universal language of car design," says Lorenzo Ramaciotti, general manager of Pininfarina, which employs 2,000 people as modellers and engineers to support the tiny design team. "An American car is expected to be solid and a little flamboyant. An Italian car is expected to be aggressive, sportive and very sexy."

Like most of Italy's other designers, Turin car stylists prefer to work in small studios rather than in large corporate design centers. "I think we are delivering our best when the organization is not so huge," says Ramaciotti. "We're very individualistic people with taste rooted in the Renaissance. The stereotype of Italy as a land of creative people is true." Even if you haven't driven a Ferrari or worn a Versace lately, it's a difficult argument to refute.

 

 
 

Ferrari - The Emblem


"The story of the prancing horse is simple and fascinating.
The horse was painted on the fuselage of the fighter plane flown by Francesco Baracca, a heroic Italian pilot who died on Mount Montello: the Italian ace of aces of the First World War. In 1923, when I won the first Savio circuit, which was run in Ravenna, I met Count Enrico Baracca, the pilot's father, and subsequently his mother, Countess Paolina.One day she said to me, "Ferrari, why don't you put my son's prancing horse on your cars; it would bring you luck." I still have Baracca's photograph with the dedication by his parents, in which they entrusted the emblem to me. The horse was black and has remained so; I added the canary yellow background because it is the colour of Modena." Enzo Ferrari

 

 

The Vespa scooter

Vespa scooter was created immediately after Second World War because the company Piaggio decided that making warplanes was, perhaps, no longer an appropriate way to make a living (the company had been practically destroyed by American bombers). A German scooter (one that had been used by paratroopers) was found in a wreck, and it became the prototype of a transport that was practical and easy to drive, easy to handle, inexpensive, and easy to repair. The Vespa ("Wasp") was born and was an immediate success.

 

The Lambretta scooter

In 1945-1946 engineer, Pierluigi Torre was assigned to design a new scooter that would employ a steel tube frame construction. The new scooter was named the Lambretta after the factories location in the Lambrate quarter of Milan. Production for the new Lambretta A 125cc started in 1947 a year after Piaggio started production of the Vespa 98cc.
The Lambretta A 125cc came with a three speed gear box and foot operated gear changer. The scooter had no body panels to cover the tube frame and engine but did come with a rear seat. Lambrettas were license built in many other countries. By 1970 scooter sales were down.

In 1971 Innocenti stopped manufacturing Lambretta scooters and in 1972 the tooling for manufacturing DL series scooters was sold to Scooters of India. Vintage Italian Lambrettas and Vespas are great scooters and are sought out by enthusiasts all over the world ...

Bicycles
It
aly, country of vehicles and motors, has also a great tradition in cycling. From unpaved streets to the historical successes of Coppi and Bartali and Moser's speed records, Italian cycling has experienced a technical evolution due to extensive research in aerodynamics and design applications. This beatiful example of design are the hi-tech bike used by Francesco Moser with disc-wheels and a bullhorn-bar. Moser was the first man to break the 50 km/h barrier in Mexico City, where he reached 51.151 km (31.78 miles) in the 1984.

Car Museums in Italy

 E.N.I.T. North America - Copyright ©1998-2013 - All Rights Reserved