By Letizia | January 29, 2015
Few days ago the Vatican celebrated the birthday of the Swiss Guard, the Pontifical defense corp that is in charge for defending the Pope since 1506. On 22 January 1506 indeed one-hundred-fifty Swiss soldiers entered the Vatican guided by their Captain Kaspar of Silenen, and were blessed by the then Pope Julius II who had specifically asked for their aid to face the political turmoils of his time.
In other words, the Swiss Guards we admire today in their multicolor attire have been serving the Pope for five-hundred years, linked to him by an oath of allegiance which implies even the extreme self-sacrifice for the Pope’s sake.
How did this story begin?
Simple: in the Renaissance age Swiss soldiers were the best any king or chief could wish for defending his domain, being loyal up to death, strong and well trained, all skills that they had gained after centuries of devotion to the military art due to lack of better jobs in the land now corresponding to the rich Swiss we all know.
A little fact of interest: their attire was not designed by Michelangelo, as people commonly believe just because Michelangelo had been engaged by Julius II for the scultpure decorations of his tomb rightly in that period. Their current uniform is rather just one century old, designed in 1914 (when the corp underwent some reforms) by the then Captain inspired by Raffaello’s drawings.
Hostel Des Artistes’s staff will be glad to provide with any useful info to visit the Vatican area!