The Museum of Tasso family and Postal History

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Luogo:Cornello (BG)


The experience

The museum offers a range of guided tours, available by reservation, designed for both individual visitors and groups of adults and children, as well as school excursions. These tours provide an immersive exploration of the history of the Tasso family and the surrounding landscape, filled with captivating sites of notable cultural and artistic significance, such as the village of Cornello dei Tasso, the village of Bretto, and the Church of San Ludovico di Tolosa.

Cornello has become synonymous with the Tasso family, renowned for giving birth to the two great literary figures, Bernardo Tasso and his son Torquato Tasso, the author of ‘Gerusalemme Liberata.’ The Tasso family is notable for being considered one of the early European multinational enterprises, as it held a centuries-long monopoly on postal services between Habsburg territories and other European states.

Hailing from this village, the diverse branches of the family undertook various responsibilities within the Company of Couriers of the Serenissima, overseeing connections on the Venice-Milan and Venice-Rome routes.

After 1460, some members of the family were called upon to organize the Papal Postal service, a responsibility they held until 1539. In the meantime, other members of the Tasso family, particularly the brothers Francesco and Janetto, secured their initial contracts for postal communications in Tyrol, commissioned by Maximilian I of Habsburg. These assignments were later confirmed and formalized in the early 16th century by Maximilian’s son, Philip the Handsome, and his grandson, the future Emperor Charles V, through a series of postal treaties.

It was the beginning of a grand saga that saw these enterprising figures, hailing from the Bergamo mountains, hold the position of masters general of the imperial postal service for centuries. In this role, the Tasso family established a dense network of connections among hundreds of European cities, giving rise to an enterprise that quickly reached the peaks of financial power, ensuring its members honors, privileges, and heraldic distinctions. In the seventeenth century, the German branch of the family, known by the name of Thurn und Taxis received the princely title from the emperors.

Documents preserved at the State Archives of Bergamo and the Parish of Camerata Cornello confirm that the Tasso family originated from Cornello. The first prominent member, Omodeo, considered the progenitor, is mentioned as early as 1251. After him, it is possible to reconstruct a rich and complex lineage that, nonetheless, remained fairly united in defending the family’s economic interests and privileges.

Among the numerous documents, one worth mentioning is the testament of Ruggero Tasso, brother of Francesco and Janetto, and father of the so-called ‘four greats’ (Giovan Battista, Simone, Maffeo, and Davide). These four individuals succeeded their uncles in managing the imperial postal routes, organizing them in Germany, Milan, Spain, and Venice, respectively. One of the four brothers, Davide, after establishing the imperial post in Venice, returned to spend his final years in Cornello, in the palace that still today bears the family crest on its façade, accompanied by the imperial eagle.

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Museo dei Tasso e della Storia Postale, Via Cornello, Camerata Cornello, BG, Italia

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