The book Simon Taxis and the Posts of the State of Milan During the Renaissance, about the man who revolutionised Italy's postal service in the 16th century, has won the Fulvio Apollonio Prize.
The award was given to authors Dr Giorgio Migliavacca and Professor Tarcisio Bottani in Rome, in conjunction with the annual stamp festival Italia 09 and a meeting of Italy's Philatelic Journalists Guild (USFI).
The audience included 100 journalists, the curator of the Vatican Museum and Mr. Gianfranco Lazzarini, Mayor of Camerata Cornello and Chairman of the Taxis Museum.
The book had already won a gold medal at the APS Stampshow in August - the largest stamp event in America. In this case, Danilo Bogoni, President of the USFI, also made it clear the award was also for the distinguished authors' decades of scholarly and other work for the benefit of philately.
Migliavacca explained the significance of Simon Taxis. "Italy has her own Rowland Hill: he is Simon Taxis the creator of an unprecedented postal speed that remained unchallenged until the advent of the train over 300 hundred years later.
"Simon Taxis was instrumental in modernizing the European posts in the 1500s and making them accessible for the first time to the general public. In turn this led to the creation of a state monopoly of the postal service. "
Rowland Hill campaigned successfully in Britain for the simplification of the postal service, which resulted in Britain's Penny Black stamp and Mulready Envelopes (some of which are available at an upcoming auction) and an enormous increase in communication for the general public.
The award was one of the highlights of Italia 09, at which 503 collectors exhibited their collections for the benefit of an estimated 50,000 people.