Serbia: a show on the Vespa, cult object and status symbol

dozens of original models, many from the 1950s and 60s

18 October, 19:38

Serbia: a show on the Vespa, cult object and status symbol Serbia: a show on the Vespa, cult object and status symbol

(ANSAmed) - BELGRADE, OCTOBER 18 - The elegance of what is probably the world's most famous scooter, the Vespa Piaggio, is on display as of yesterday in the Serbian capital, where the Vespa has always been a cult object and a status symbol.

On view at the exhibit in a famous central gallery, whose opening was attended by Italian Ambassador Armando Varricchio, are 40 Vespa models manufactured over the last 60 years. The oldest in the show, which is organized by the Belgrade Vespa Club and the Serbia Vespa Club, is from 1949. They are on loan from their owners, who are all residents of the capital or other Serbian cities. There is a preponderance of models from the 1950s and 60s, when Tito's Socialist Yugoslavia was beginning to open up to the West, and the first lucky few were able to travel to neighboring Italy.

''My father brought a Vespa from Italy in the fall of 1957, and for us back then it was like having a Ferrari, a Maserati or a helicopter,'' 71-year-old Zoran Luburic, a mechanical engineer and Vespa enthusiast, told ANSA. ''Whoever owned a Vespa was sure to attract the most beautiful girls in Belgrade. I still have one, which I ride regularly in town.'' Among those who came to Belgrade to show his old, elegant Vespa is 62-year-old Boris Jurevini. A native of Pola, in Croatia, he is a music professor and the president of the Istria Vespa Club. ''I also came to Belgrade to deliver the authorization to inscribe the Serbia Vespa Club in the Vespa Piaggio official historical record,'' explained Jurevini, who recently met with the president of the historial record, Luigi Frisingelli.

The rules and prerequisites to be inscribed into the historical record are stringent: only authentic models, with the original parts and colors, are eligible, Jurevini explained, adding that a joint Italy-Slovenia Vespa show is in the works for next year.

One of the first proud owners of a Vespa in Belgrade, said actor Dragan Nikolic, was legendary Red Star goalie Srdjan Mrkusic. He was so obsessed with his object of desire, that he kept it tied to his finger with a nylon string at all times, even when it was parked on the street at night.

Of all the models on show, the most original and precious is probably the Vespa in prize wood and with ivory handlebars, made in 2002 by artist and sculptor Djura Veselinovic. The exhibit, which is being attracting record crowds, is on view through October 25. (ANSAmed).

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