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"Swiss guards" Vatican City Things to Do Tip by Damir

Vatican City Things to Do: 794 reviews and 1,492 photos

  Swiss guards
by Damir

Near the entrance of the St. Peter's Basilica you will probably encounter some of the famous Swiss guards. Since 1506 when pope Julius II invited Helvetian soldiers to join the small Vatican army, they have been the guards of the Vatican and the pope in particular. All entrants to the army must be Swiss, catholic and they must take the oath of loyalty to the pope. This oath is taken May 26th, to commemorate the sacking of Rome on the same day in 1527 when Swiss guards protected pope Clement VII during his escape to the Castel Sant'Angelo. Of the 189 guards, only 42 survived.

Address: Piazza San Pietro, Vatican
Directions: When you passed metal detector and RTG for bags turn left to the end of colonnades (made by Bernini) and under last colon look on right door to see Swiss guards. Also, after you leave Basilica look on right under stairs.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 26, 2004
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