World Road Trip on a Vespa - Finished  
  17th May 2001 Collingwood, Victoria        

A visit to Vespa House in Collingwood lifted my lagging spirit of adventure higher than Everest Base Camp. Parked in Frank Tonon's workshop was an interesting Vespa PX with the telltale markings of a free soul.

World maps with continuous threads snaking their way through every continent covered the side panels. Coloured flags and brand names were spread across the body.


The Vespa's owner is Giorgio Bettinelli. Giorgio is an intrepid traveller and writer who left South America’s most southerly tip, Tierra del Fuego, in 1997 to ride around the globe to finish in Tasmania, Australia in April 2001.

A surprise phone call from Giorgio on his arrival in Melbourne last week gave Frank Tonon little time to organise a sightseeing tour of Melbourne, especially as Giorgio was due to go home to Italy in a few days.

Frank Tonon with Giorgio's trusty travel companion

Strong carry racks, the rear one made from concrete reinforcement steel and full windscreen


They did manage to get out and about to capture the sights from the Rialto Observation Deck, eating at our fine restaurants and fulfilling Giorgio's craving for succulent Tasmanian oysters at the South Melbourne Market.

Giorgio started his trip in 1997 (Vespa's 50th anniversary) and hoped to finish in time for the Sydney Olympics. An Olympic effort considering he had his Vespa stolen in the Congo and was left to walk to Angola, attacked with capsicum spray and his laptop stolen in Moscow to mention a few of his ordeals.

The map "Five Continents Overland" & "Vespa Worldwide Odyssey 1997-2000"

Odometer reading:
61407 klm from Angola

Plenty of good sponsorship is encouraging
Reinforced luggage racks for very big packs





Giorgio’s first adventure on a Vespa was in 1992 travelling from Italy to Vietnam. This trip covered 24,000 kilometres and included Turkey, Iran, India and Thailand.

On his second adventure he covered 36,000 kilometres riding from the Artic Circle to Alaska then down to Tierra del Fuego in South America.


Adventure number three began in Melbourne, Australia. With Frank’s help to prepare, Giorgio headed north then across to Asia and cruised around the coast finishing 52,000 kilometres later in Cape Town, South Africa.

Giorgio’s book on his previous Vespa adventures has sold out, and will hopefully be reprinted soon. He is writing a book on his latest adventure, which I'm sure, will fill in all the details.