ON 31 JANUARY 2018 THE SCOOTER EMERGED FROM THE WRECKAGE OF A COLLAPSED BUILDING, AFTER THE QUAKE OF 2016: SLIGHTLY BATTERED AND DUSTY, IT STARTED UP ON THE FIRST TRY. A REMARKABLE STORY, RECOUNTED FIRST-HAND BY ALESSIA CALLORI DI VIGNALE.
31 January 2018: a date to remember, which helped put a smile back on the face of an Italian family. Alessia Callori di Vignale tells us what happened: “I want to share this incredible story about our Vespa 50 Special. A few days ago we had a call from the municipality of Amatrice (a town in the province of Rieti, which suffered severe damage in the earthquake that hit central Italy in August 2016, ed.), telling us that at last, after eighteen months, our building was due to be cleared, after collapsing in the earthquake on 24 August. So, that morning – 31 January 2018 – my parents, uncles and brothers Vittorio and Simone left Rome at the crack of dawn to go to Amatrice, where they were accompanied by the employees of the company that is carrying out the disposal of the rubble.
Let’s take a step back: on 24 August 2016, my parents were with my grandmother and brother Simone in our house in Amatrice, where for years we had spent the summer holidays. My other brother Vittorio, my sister Costanza and I had left the day before for Rome. During that dreadful night, all four were buried under the rubble, and three of them miraculously came out uninjured: mom, dad and Simone. Sadly, my grandmother did not make it.
Earlier that summer, Simone (he always has a passion for model building, mechanics and restore hobbies), with the help of our father, he had restored a Vespa 50 Special from 1982, and had decided to ride his ‘creation’ from Rome to Amatrice, and enjoy the mountain views of the Laga.
As he’d left the Vespa in the entrance to the building that night, the scooter was buried in the earthquake, and we heard nothing more about it. Of course, it wasn’t a priority at the time, but given all the work Simone had put into building it, he would have been delighted if he’d managed to recover it. We tried asking the firefighters on a number of occasions, but until the morning of 31 January, we could only get a glimpse of it at the end of the entrance hall, the only part of the building that was left standing.
So, on that wonderful morning, after the bulldozers had begun removing the rubble, the ‘rescuers’ finally reached our famous little Vespa, and returned it to an emotional Simone. Incredibly, after 2 years and half beneath the wreckage, exposed to the elements, the engine started up on the first try… and off it went. It was a super moment, and the best thing was seeing my brother Simone smile again!”
From the Wide editorial staff a big THANK YOU to Alessia (also for the marvellous photos and videos she sent us showing the rescue of the Vespa) and her family, and a special thought for those who are no longer with them.