Thurn und Taxis
Most of my readers will be familiar with the courier company TNT, but probably not with its historical origins. The family of Thurn und Taxis are one of the oldest princely houses of Germany, with roots in the Italian early 12th century. Those princes were builders, brewers, and the inventors of the modern postal service in Europe of the 15th century. Since 1748 their home is Saint-Emmeram castle in Regensburg. Rainer Maria Rilke wrote Duino Elegies while visiting Duino castle and princess Marie of Thurn und Taxis.
The family held the position of Master of the Postal Services from the creation of the first service by Ruggiano di Tassi in 15th century Italy until the 18th century.
The Thurn und Taxis history inspired Thomas Pynchon’s novel “The Crying of lot 49”. They gave their name to a board game…