Pope

SWISS GUARD: FIVE CENTURY OLD LOYALTY

SWISS GUARD: FIVE CENTURY OLD LOYALTY

Last week a special event was celebrated in the Vatican: the Swiss Guard’s birthday. This corp is in charge for the Pope’s safety since 1506: given the great political instability the then Pope Julius II decided to recruit soldiers from Switzerland, which at that time was home to the most well trained men at arms, to such an extent that all European kings used to hire them for their own protection. Guided by Captain Kaspar of Silenen, the first Swiss garrison of the Pope officially entered the Vatican on 22 January 1506. They gave proof of their trustworthyness very soon: when Rome was assaulted and ravaged in 1527, the Swiss Guards defended the Pope at the cost of their lives: out of 189 soldiers only 42 survived, basically just those who had taken the Pope to his fortress in Castel Sant’Angelo (a fascinating monument today open to visitors).
The Swiss Guard uniform is actually quite recent: its current shape and colors date back just to 1914, when the new design was created following some drawings by Raffaello.
Yes Hotel is well connected to the Vatican City by metro: catch line A (at just 5 minutes walking from us) and get off at Ottaviano!

Book Recommendation

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This is not a blog about books, but I just came across one that’s too good to be ignored.

Elena Bonora’s “Roma 1564″ is authoritative and educational but is also as entertaining as the best thriller. The book documents with great historical rigour a conspiracy to kill pope Pious IV and unveils through its reconstructions the sometimes brutal past of the city and the peculiar worldview of its inhabitants (there are astrologers and treasure hunts involved!)

Unfortunately the book is yet to be translated in English. If you know italian, get it; if you don’t, keep checking for the translation: it’s an indispensable read for those who believe that reality is stranger (and sometimes more intriguing) than fiction.