Sometimes hedonistic, individualistic, or simply in a hurry. There is a tribe of motorcyclists who were born to be wild, who celebrate riding into the wind. They embrace the unfiltered scents and colors and the feeling of freedom. Often, for these people, motorcycles are not just a means of transport. They are an extension of the body and soul of the motorcyclist, who feels a bit like Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in Easy Rider during their crazy trip across the US on the Billy Bike bobber and the Captain America chopper, two motorcycles specially customized for the film. Then there are riders who can’t do without the thrill of the smooth tarmac track, those who ride off-road at any cost, those loyal to a single brand for life, and those who only ride a motorbike in the city, but do not want to compromise on style. These people see their vehicles as a symbol, a lifestyle. Among these, there are those who inherit and collect bikes, those who repair them and, above all, those who produce them. Italy has a proud history of motoring, built and left behind by companies that have exported the quality of Italian expertise around the world since the first post-war period. Today, this heritage can be discovered in company museums: places that display all the models that have become part of the history of Italian two-wheelers

Fondazione Museo Agusta

In 1923, Giovanni Agusta started a solo aircraft design and building business. However, he did not succeed in making a name for himself. After his untimely death in 1927, his wife and eldest son Domenico Agusta inherited the business and founded Costruzioni Aeronautica Giovanni Agusta. After the Second World War, with the Allies’ ban on aircraft construction, the family fell upon hard times. But the workshops did not remain unproductive for long: the Agustas put their passion and knowledge of the principles of mechanics to good use and chose to diversify by concentrating on motorcycle production which was booming at the time. That is how Meccanica Verghera, better known as MV Agusta, came about, alongside the company’s aeronautical business. The adoption of technologies from the construction of aircraft played its part resulting in the creation of highly successful competition models (look no further than the victories of Giacomo Agostini, the greatest Italian motorcyclist of all time, riding MV Agustas). Thanks to his dedication, Domenico Agusta was able to continue a joint project with his workers, engineers and pilots, always supporting them and passing on his passion for motoring. And it is these individuals, brought together in the company’s Senior Workers Group, who were behind the Agusta Museum which was set up in 2002, in Cascina Costa di Samarate (a municipality in the province of Varese that is part of the Motor City circuit). The museum is a vibrant and dynamic place, a beacon of industrial culture and testimony to Italian excellence in the world. Here, life-size or reduced scale prototypes, models and reconstructions of airplanes, helicopters and motorcycles and components retrace one hundred years of history of the Italian mechanical and aeronautical industry. Next to the museum is the company’s Historical Archive which contains documents, photos, drawings and films. The Augusta Museum and Historical Archives are now part of the Leonardo S.p.A. museum network.

Ducati Museum, Bologna

Emilia-Romagna is known as the Motor Valley. The region is the industrial district of motoring par excellence. It is, therefore, no coincidence that the greatest Italian motorcycling champions come from this very area (Masetti, Pasolini, Capirossi, Dovizioso and Simoncelli). When we think of motorbikes – those with cylindrical, tapered exhausts – of the adrenaline-fueled MotoGp races with thrilling overtaking and acute lean angles into turns, then Bologna and the working-class area of Borgo Panigale, where Ducati has its headquarters, immediately come to mind. The history of the company dates back to 1926, when three brothers, Adriano, Bruno and Marcello Ducati, set about producing a condenser from their cellar in Bologna. They decided to found a company for the production of radio antennas, intercom communication, projectors, cameras and electric shavers. Twenty years later, they created Cucciolo, a single-cylinder engine to be mounted on a bicycle. From this point onwards, the production of motorcycles – by which we mean the shiny, roaring red ones – started and gradually expanded. Ducati became the only Italian competitor of the big Japanese motorcycles, the proud standard bearer of Italian motorcycle production around the world. The museum, which tells the story of Ducati’s 90+ years of life and success, includes historic and current models engineered for both mass production and racing, and is a place where modernity and history coexist in perfect balance.


Piaggio Museum and Historical Archives

Piaggio is synonymous with Vespa, conjuring up visions of Roman Holiday and a style icon since 1946. But Piaggio has much older origins. It had been on the market since 1884 when Enrico Piaggio’s son, Rinaldo, founded a company in Sestri Ponente for the production of naval furnishings. Since then, the company has made its mark at sea, on land, in the sky and on all means of transport. Piaggio’s history is the history of everything that revolves around transport: furnishings for steamships and transatlantic liners, railway sleepers and carriages, airplanes, pleasure craft and military vessels, propellers, buses, cabins for cable cars and funicular railways, as well as Vespas, Ape cars and mopeds. But it is also the story of products and individuals, evidence of the perfect combination of skills and results, people and technology, innovation and managerial skills. These stories are told in the Piaggio Museum – which is a foundation, historical archive and museum rolled in to one – housed in one of the oldest headquarter buildings in Pontedera (a Motor City municipality). It guides visitors through the discovery of the ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and hard work of the generations engaged in the daily toil of the factory. It tells the story of the evolution of a moped that, from its first appearance on the road to date, has always been more a way of life than a means of transport.

Museo Guzzi

Moto Guzzi was founded in Genoa on 15 March, 1921. It was the coronation of the dream of three WWI veteran aviators: Carlo Guzzi, Giorgio Parodi and Giovanni Ravelli. The first two started the company while the third tragically died during a test flight. The eagle, symbol of Moto Guzzi, is a tribute to Giovanni Ravelli. The riots that marked Genoa during the 1919-1920 period known as Biennio Rosso made it impossible to establish the factory in the Ligurian capital, and the two partners decided to move to Mandello del Lario, a town of the Motor City Association in the quiet province of Como. Moto Guzzi made a name for itself in the motoring world for the quality, power and reliability of its motorcycles, becoming an icon of all-Italian style.  Today, the Guzzi Museum exhibits unique pieces such as the first motorcycle built by Carlo Guzzi in 1919, as well as 180 models that, together with the narration of the history of the brand, offer a cross-section view of the social and economic evolution of the country.


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