The Birth of a Cucciolo

An original ad featuring the Cucciolo as a precious gift for a loved one

Machining of a Cucciolo crankcase

Cucciolo engine assembly department

Three models of Cucciolo at the Motovelodromo (motordrome) in Turin, in 1948

Women representing a motorcycle club, astride a Cucciolo (1949)

The original score of the Oliviero- Rastelli song


The birth of the Cucciolo was quite an adventure. During the Second World War, the lawyer and writer Aldo Farinelli lived in Turin. Immediately after the armistice, Farinelli secretly began - against Government directives - to design a small-displacement auxiliary motor to be applied, without major conversions, to the frame of an ordinary bicycle. He understood the need for a small, simple and reliable means of transportation, suitable for meeting the need for mobility that would arise at the end of the conflict.

The extremely difficult economic conditions would not allow many people to purchase a costly vehicle, not just in terms of price but also the difficulty of obtaining fuel: thus the essential aim was to ensure the lowest possible fuel consumption. This feature could be achieved only by a small, four-stroke motor, capable of adapting to various types of fuel thanks to its low compression ratio (compared to the competition, the Cucciolo was more powerful and got better mileage: 100 km to the liter in ideal conditions).

The Cucciolo "moped" (as it was later called) was the first Ducati product to leave the plant after the war, and was the leader of all subsequent motorcycle production. The Cucciolo represented an innovation in the field of motorcycles: no one had ever before had the brilliant idea of applying a propulsion motor to a bicycle. The Cucciolo was accompanied by a rather unusual advertising campaign. To make this bike more familiar, it was decided to write a song about the Cucciolo. So it was that Maestro Oliviero composed "Ti porterò sul Cucciolo" [I'll Take You On My Cucciolo], a pleasant tune that soon became famous throughout Italy.

Another aspect of the advertising signs is that the Cucciolo launch was characterized by a pleasing, fun communication campaign. In the original ad you could see, in the Giardini Margherita park in Bologna, a man giving his fiancée a Cucciolo, held tenderly in his arms. The claim "Power Up Your Bicycle" accompanied the public release of the first Cucciolo, manufactured at what was then the SIATA in Turin.

Ducati in the past years has celebrated the Cucciolo in different ways, such as with a range of soft toys manufactured by Accademia. Designed to closely resemble the original puppy that appeared in Ducati advertising for the Cucciolo.