2020. Corona. Travelling is a different game. Yet our Fernweh acted up too often. So we arranged a train trip to Germany and Austria. Specifically to Leipzig in Saxony, several spots in Bavaria and returning home with ÖBB‘s Nightjet from Innsbruck in Tyrol to Brussels in Belgium.
We included Regensburg (which in French has the perfect-for-a-book name Ratisbonne) in one of the many replannings of this trip. For Danny and I, its main attraction is Schloss Höfling. It is now owned by the Princely House of Thurn und Taxis.
The castle takes its name from the von Höfling family.
The first mention of the name was Friedrich von Höfling, a provost of Prüfening Abbey in the 1150s. The first castle, a medieval fortress, was first mentioned in 1259 in a peace agreement between Louis II, Duke of Bavaria and the City of Regensburg.
The present castle was built in the 18th century by baron Xaver Ignaz Reichlin von Meldegg, a member of the princely court of Thurn und Taxis. It is built in the baroque style and has a mansard roof.
The land surrounding Schloss Höfling had been purchased in 1860 by Maximilian Karl, 6th Prince of Thurn and Taxis. In 1892 the House of Thurn und Taxis purchased the castle. After the wedding of Karl August, 10th Prince of Thurn and Taxis and princess Maria Anna of Braganza, the couple took up residency at the castle in 1922.
The Thurn und Taxis family
The Princely House of Thurn and Taxis (German: Fürstenhaus Thurn und Taxis was a key player in the postal services in Europe during the 16th century, until the end of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in 1806, and became well known as the owner of breweries and builder of many castles. The current head of the house is Albert II, 12th Prince of Thurn and Taxis. The family is one of the wealthiest in Germany and has resided at St. Emmeram Castle in Regensburg since 1748. As former sovereign family, it belongs to the Hochadel.
The Tasso family (from the Italian word for ‘badger’) was a Lombard family in the area of Bergamo. The earliest records place them in Almenno in the Val Brembana around 1200.
Ruggiero de Tassis was named to the court of the emperor Frederick the Peaceful in 1443. He organized a post system between Bergamo and Vienna by 1450; from Innsbruck to Italy and Styria around 1460; and Vienna with Brussels around 1480.
Philip of Burgundy elevated Francesco I de Tassis to captain of his post in 1502.
The name Thurn und Taxis arose from the translation into German of the family’s French title (de La Tour et Tassis or de Tour et Taxis).
In 1624, the family were elevated to grafen (counts) and they formally adopted the German form of their name in 1650. They were named princely in 1695 at the behest of emperor Leopold I.
The current head of the house of Thurn and Taxis is Albert II, 12th Prince of Thurn and Taxis, son of Johannes and his wife, Gloria. The family is one of the wealthiest in Germany.
Ah, finally, the tour. Due to corona it is (was?) the only option to get inside.
The tour was nice and comprehensive. The guide spoke German with a thick regional accent so sometimes she was hard to understand. I don’t count German as one of the languages I speak. But I do understand the gist of it.
But we were not allowed to take photos inside. Not of the paintings, the coat of arms, Fürst Albert’s racing car’s scale model, the rooms. So I went on YouTube to find footage. And I went on Wikipedia for information. Because I didn’t take notes.
Is the palace a must-visit museum? Yes if you’re into palaces. The fact it’s the actual home of someone, makes it a bit more special.