The legend of Moto Guzzi was born in 1920 when blacksmith Giorgio Ripamonti and Carlo Guzzi built their first motorcycle. It had a horizontal single cylinder, four-stroke 500 cc engine, four-valve cylinder head and overhead camshaft, bore 88 mm, stroke 82 mm. They presented the bike to to Emanuele Vittorio Parodi, a Genoese ship owner who, after an initial loan of two thousand lire, agreed to finance a motorcycle production company. On March 15, 1921 at Mandello del Lario on the eastern shore of Lake Como in Italy, Carlo Guzzi, technical genius and designer, and his friend Giorgio Parodi, Emanuele's son, founded the "Società Anonima Moto Guzzi."
Unlike almost all other motocycles, every component of Carlo Guzzi's envisioned motorcycle was rational and essential. First and foremost it had to guarantee functionality and reliability. That first prototype, which was so radically different from other bikes in its engine configuration and low-slung frame, did just that. This philosophy has been engrained in Guzzi products throughout the company's entire eighty-plus year life.