Dressed in their iconic yellow, red and also blue uniforms, the Vatican’s Swiss Guard might remind girlfriend of jesters indigenous Renaissance times. Nothing let their eccentric clothes fool girlfriend though, this guards comprise one of the most skilled militaries in the world. This vibrant combat is consisted of of just 135 guards, making that the world’s the smallest army. These guards room tasked through protecting the Pope and the Apostolic Palace. Travellers on a tourism of the Vatican are always fascinated by these eye-catching guards, currently you deserve to be too as us divulge 6 how amazing facts we bet you no know around the Swiss security of the Vatican.

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1. Background of the Swiss Guards


Switzerland can be one of Europe’s wealthiest countries today, yet 500 years earlier the Swiss economic situation was struggling, and also young men regularly traveled abroad as mercenaries. These mercenaries were skillfully trained fighters and as a result they were extremely sought after ~ in Renaissance Europe. In 1506, Pope Julius II established the Pontifical Swiss Guard, do it amongst the oldest army units in continuous operation. The Swiss safety you’ll check out in article on your Vatican tourism still maintain a lot of the customs and quirks lock held during the Renaissance era.

2. The Requirements

Before using to the posts, candidates should ensure that they satisfy strict requirements. Every recruit need to be a solitary male the Swiss citizenship. They must measure at least 5’ 8’’ tall and be in between the eras of 19 and 30. They have to be educated and hold one of two people a high school degree or a expert diploma. Needless to say, each recruit must be a devote roman Catholic and their application need to be endorsed through their neighborhood parish priest.

3. Training


Each recruit is compelled to complete simple military maintain in Switzerland. This will be adhered to by a five-week induction training food in Rome. After ~ this an initial training duration Swiss soldiers are referred to as Halberdiers. This location derives native the primary weapons of halberds that Swiss mercenaries offered in the 14th and also 15th century. Once training is complete, Halberdiers space sworn in and they and also their family members are invited to a personal audience v the Pope.

4. Functioning Life


The Swiss Guards along with the Pontifical Gendarmerie are responsible because that safeguarding the Vatican and also protecting the Pope. In addition to their protection tasks, the Swiss Guards also carry out ceremonial duties, such as a guard of honor at receptions and audiences.

The shortest contract provided from the Vatican to a Swiss security is 25 months. When a Halberdier’s contract begins they are forced to to visit Italian language classes. By the end of their very first year of organization the soldiers will certainly be ready to take up guard duty at the main entrances of the Vatican. These space the safety you"ll view helping tourists together you take your tourism of Vatican City.

When a Swiss security is standing in silence with his halberd in hand, that is on respect Duty. This means he have to not be approached. However, if he is standing through his hands folded and also facing the crowds, he might be approached for inquiries or maybe also for a photo.

5. Uniform


The most usual Swiss guard uniform you will do it see, on her Vatican City tour, is the blue duty uniform. However, most world associate them through their red, yellow and blue stripped ensemble. These colorful costumes are referred to as Gala uniforms and also are worn when guards take up much more ceremonial duties. You’ll uncover guards through this distinctly Renaissance appearance together you leave St. Peter’s Basilica on her Vatican museums tour. This format of gala uniform has been worn by Swiss Guards because 1910.

These eye-catching ensembles room tailor-made to fit every guard. They are sown by tailors inside the Vatican barracks and also it takes about 30 hours to develop each uniform! in spite of taking so long to make, a guard’s an individual uniforms room all destroyed after they complete their service.

It’s exciting to note that some of the armor Swiss safety use also today are original pieces from the 15th century! committed blacksmiths room tasked with replacing armor once these enlarge items can not be fixed. In keeping with tradition, the ostrich feathered morion helmets worn by Swiss Guards, still hold the family symbol of pop Julius II, the oak tree.

6. Swiss safety in Battle

While the majority of duties upheld by Swiss Guards room peaceful, they have actually been affiliated in some devastating battles through the ages. Their most significant military engagement remained in 1527 as soon as 190 guards to be killed throughout a fight with the holy Roman Empire. This battle, recognized as the sack of Rome, enabled for Pope Clement VII come flee to safety through the concealed tunnels emerging from the Vatican.

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The Pope’s Swiss Guards are an iconic part of the Vatican. Find out much more about these fascinating guards and the royal residence they safeguard together you uncover the mysteries the the holy See on one of these best Vatican tours.