I heard about this book a couple of years ago. Last week it arrived in the postbox. I started reading immediately.
Peter Moore is an experienced travel author, but I don't care much for his other work. This one, about Vespa and Italy is spot on. "Vroom with a view", a very intended pun, was released in 2003 and the trip took place in 2002. It all came about when Peter decided to ride a Vespa in Italy before his 40th birthday. Born and raised in Australia he acquired a longing for Italy through old black and white movies, preferably with Sophia Loren in them.
He bought a Vespa 125 cc 1961 on ebay Italia, flew from England to Milan to pick it up. With a motor cycle license but not with great experience of riding and maintaining a 40 year old twostroke Vespa.
The seller in Milan helped him lot to get the Vespa roadworthy.
The plan was to ride from Milan to Rome, dwelling in Tuscany for most of the time. Some breakdowns down the road, but nice italians helping him all the time. Yes, he gets to Rome and on the way he passes his 40th birthday!
Peter Moore has a way with words and an eye for details, I enjoyed it very much!
That I have visited some of the places that Moore ended up, in is of course a bonus for me. The obvious being Milan, Florence and Pisa. That he also visited Lucca, Garfagnana valley, Cortona and Montepulciano makes me smile!
In the beginning of his journey he stumbles on a Vespa 125 U, later having a rideout besides a Lambretta. And tells the Vjatka story when a landlady appears to be from Russia. I'm only doubtful about a 1972 (?) Vespa Super Sport. The 180 SS was discontinued in 1968. Well, that's just a "show off" remark from me...
The book also brings back memories from my first trip to Italy, in 1990. I tried to rent a PX 200 but the guy behind the counter spotted that my driver's license was for cars only. I ended up with a Vespa 50 S, but just as happy driving in the mountains above San Remo. I think I went as far as Bajardo.
Time to do it again...