500 (Cinquecento) (automobile name): produced by Fiat, the Cinquecento is one of its most iconic cars.

500 (Cinquecento)

(automobile name): produced by Fiat, the Cinquecento is one of its most iconic cars. It was first produced in 1936 as the 500-cc “Topolino” (little mouse), named in part because it was at the time one of the smallest cars then being built: it allowed minimal space for two people and could barely crest a speed of 50 mph. Following World War II, Fiat redesigned the car, releasing the “Nuova Cinquecento” on 4 July 1957. Revamped with a more powerful engine and modified to accommodate more people, the Cinquecento aimed to be the car for the people of Italy. Fiat’s campaign for the Cinquecento worked: its record sales (over 3 million in its first two decades of production) contributed to its status as a symbol of the Italian strada. This status continues today, with the introduction of the new “Nuova Cinquecento” in 2007, exactly half a century following the 1957 landmark release. 

While IAS can only dream of a membership that tops 3 million or a legacy of close to a century, we can aim to achieve an equally significant landmark in the celebration of all things Italian by topping our membership goal of 500 members. Your membership helps contribute to the wide array of programming and funding initiatives spearheaded by IAS, and it also ensures that IAS will be able to continue to support Italophiles of all ranks well into the future. Help Italian Art Society meet and surpass its #Campaignfor500 membership goal by joining or renewing your lapsed membership today. Learn more about the Italian Art Society and their mission here

Further reading: “A Love Letter to the Fiat 500: The New Popemobile” by Laird Borrelli-Persson. Vogue, 24 September 2015.

Pope Francis waves from his Fiat 500L at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, 22 September 2015.

Supermodel and Fiat 500, Vogue, 1994

Cinquecento debut ad. Photo: Everett Collection

1959 Fiat 500 ad. Photo: Oskar Poss/ullstein bild / Getty Images

Bishops applaud Pope Francis as he leaves St. Matthew’s Cathedral in his Fiat 500 after midday prayer service, Washington, D.C., 23 September 2015.

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