A TRIP WITH A VINTAGE FLAVOUR, TO CELEBRATE A SERIES OF HISTORICAL ANNIVERSARIES. RIDERS TAKE THEIR SCOOTERS ACROSS THE ALPS, STARTING ON 6 JUNE 2019.
May 2019 – Excitement is building on the eve of the Vespa commemorative tour, the “Staffetta della Pace” (“Peace Relay”), from 6 to 8 June 2019, leaving from Melegnano (Milan) to cross the Alps, with stops in Berne, Switzerland, and Chambéry, France (and back again). The purpose is to take a handful of earth from the Melegnano ossuary to the two Swiss and French war cemeteries, where some of those killed in the Risorgimento battle of 8 June 1859 between the Austrian troops stationed in Melegnano and the French-Piedmontese army are buried.
The ride re-evokes the first “Peace Relay” with three Vespa GS 150 scooters organised exactly 60 years ago, in June 1959, to mark the centenary of the battle and the granting of the honorary title of “city” to Melegnano with a decree issued by the President of the Italian Republic, in recognition of Melegnano’s contribution to the Risorgimento and the unification of Italy.
(Archive photos from the book “Staffetta della Pace – Melegnano-Berna-Chambéry”, 60° Anniversario 1959-2019, Gemini Grafica Editrice photo courtesy).
The original relay was organised by the newly formed Melegnano Vespa Club, with four young riders: Giuseppe Raineri (a former Piaggio dealer and founder of the Melegnano Vespa Club in January 1959: another 60th anniversary to celebrate), Pietro Cremascoli, Giuseppe Cremonesi and Vincenzo Ballerini. A group of teenagers with a thirst for adventure: they set off on an pioneering expedition crowned with well-deserved success after travelling almost one thousand kilometres and crossing the Alpine passes on the saddle of the legendary scooter.
Re-tracing their route for the 2019 Relay are 4 Vespa riders, Mauro Tresoldi, Elena Lavesi, Angelo Lavesi and Massimo Arese, accompanied by the indomitable Giuseppe Cremonesi and Vincenzo Ballerini (two of the original participants) and a technical crew.
The protagonists of the 2019 Peace Relay: Mauro Tresoldi, Elena Lavesi, Angelo Lavesi, Giuseppe Cremonesi, Franco Bosio, Massimo Arese, Vincenzo Ballerini. They will be joined by Luciano Passoni, Salvatore Maniscalco and Franco Bosio’s wife. The Vespa riders are members of the Lodi Vespa Club.
Also taking part will be Luciano Passoni (creator of the Melegnano Motori brand), the relay organiser. The event is promoted by the Melegnano Vespa Club, with the support of the Vespa Club of Italy and the Melegnano Municipality – which is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its “city” title – in collaboration with the municipalities of Berne and Chambéry.
The route: the Peace Relay will start at dawn on Thursday 6 June 2019 from the Via Vittorio Veneto ossuary in Melegnano and head for Switzerland, crossing the Alps at the Gotthard Pass and then the Susten Pass. The first stop will be in Berne, where the Italian delegation will be received by the local authorities. The next day, the caravan will ride to Chambéry in France, to meet the city authorities and the Chambéry Vespa Club at the local Piaggio dealer’s showroom. On Saturday 8 June, everyone will return to Melegnano, to be welcomed by a large crowd of local residents and Vespa enthusiasts, with final celebrations on Sunday 9 June and events organised by the Pro Loco. The journey will be fully documented with reports and photos, with a view to publishing a book.
Meanwhile, the book “Staffetta della Pace – Melegnano-Berna-Chambéry”, 60° Anniversario 1959-2019, edited by Domenico Parrotta (architect-designer and rider) and Luciano Passoni (a passionate motor-racing enthusiast and multimedia communication expert), and published by Gemini Grafica, under the aegis of the City of Melegnano, is already available. A valuable historical record, with original reports and documents, and a wealth of photos illustrating the events and people who left an indelible mark on the city and on the Vespa movement.
Another important publication on the first Relay in 1959 and the story of the Melegnano Vespa Club is “Melegnano Motori – Personaggi, auto, moto e altre storie” edited by Luciano Passoni and Domenico Parrotta, and published in 2017 by Gemini Grafica Editrice, under the aegis of the City of Melegnano.
INFO STAFFETTA DELLA PACE (PEACE RELAY):