Checking Out the Swiss Guards

It took me almost three months of living in Rome before I made it out to the Vatican.  I had been putting it off because I went through the museum on my first trip to Italy many moons ago.

I decided to take a tour of the Vatican museums instead of wandering around myself.

I hate tours. I hate tourist-y things.

But I am SO glad I went. Going with someone who knows the history and can present it a fun way, with a charming Irish accent? Worth it.

I also got some inside information- they give secret tours of the Swiss Guard barracks. (Ok, maybe not-so-secret now that I opened my big mouth).

You can read my story about Swiss Guard tours here. Simply put- it is one of the coolest things I have done since moving to Rome.

When the guard took us into the armory and showed us maces from the 1500s, I felt like I was being let into some crazy VIP club. I mean, this is the smallest army in the world! How many people have been allowed in the barracks before??

We could even see the Pope’s window from inside the barracks. Someone was kind enough to point out his toilet window, as well.

Weirdest of all? The English-speaking community in Rome is actually ridiculously small, so now that I’ve been on the tour and met a few of the guards, when they’re off-duty I run into them fairly often.

File all this under: Things I Would Not Have Imagined Happening in My Life

3 thoughts on “Checking Out the Swiss Guards

  1. Paula Feldman says:

    And if you tell the whole story those wonderfully handsome Swiss guards are not a bad part of the landscape…it does feel strange to run into them when you are in the city.

    Vatican museums are probably the most beautiful places in the world to see artwork etc. When you have another day have a tour of the Vatican Library! It will knock your socks off from what I understand. I haven’t been but friends who had a private tour said it is incredible.

    I had the honor of being allowed into the vault of the archives of the Diocesi di Albenga, a small town in Savona not far from my home. In it are kept the ‘treasures’ of the archives – books from early medioevo copied by scribes. As I looked at the drawings and the lettering I imagined monks sitting in the scriptorium near a high window with candles all around them copying manuscripts with quill pens. It was an emotional moment.

  2. Pingback: Advent with the Swiss Guards « Code Cables … from Rome

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