Vatican

THE SWISS GUARD TURNS 509 YEARS!

THE SWISS GUARD TURNS 509 YEARS!

The Swiss Guard of the Pope turned 509 years last week.
On 22 January fell indeed the anniversary of their hiring at the Holy Seat: it was 1506 when Pope Julius II recruited a guarnison of soldiers from today’s Switzerland for his own safeguard in the Vatican. Since then they kept serving him with loyalty until today, linked to him by an oath which includes life sacrifice and which they didn’t hesitate to respect many times: in 1527, for instance, on occasion of the so called “Sack of Rome”, when out of 189 soldiers, only 42 survived to protect the then Pope. Coming closer to our times, the Swiss Guard mantained its loyalty to the Holy Seat even when the Papal State was deprived of its political and territorial powers by the new born Italian State, in 1861.
A little folkloric note: the Swiss Guard’s old fashioned uniform is not as ancient as we might think, being the fruit of a design which dates back to 1914, when the corp underwent major reforms. The new outfit was inspired to Raffaello’s drawings though, from which thing it derives its clear Renaissance looking.
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THE NEW LIGHTS OF ST. PETER’S

THE NEW LIGHTS OF ST. PETER’S

There’s one more reason to take a tour in the center of Rome now: discover its Christmas lights, and particularly those at St. Peter’s Square. Today 19 December at 6 pm Pope Francis will turn on not only the Christmas tree and the Nativity scene which once a year embellish the cradle of Christianity, but also the brand new lighting system of both the dome and the facade of the church.
Over 300 LED spots have been set to guarantee 70% energy saving and to provide architectures with the best possible lighting techonologies currently available: each LED has been placed and its shade has been designed according to the piece of architecture it is meant to light up. St. Peter’s new lights are part of a wider project aiming at improving light effects on 40 domes of the Eternal City.
The traditional Christmas tree comes this year from Calabria region, while the Nativity scene includes more than 20 full-size clay pieces.
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POPE FRANCIS SWITCHES ON A GUINNESS’ CHRISTMAS TREE

POPE FRANCIS SWITCHES ON A GUINNESS’ CHRISTMAS TREE

Italy hosts the biggest Christmas tree in the world: it is located in Umbria and it was personally switched on by the Pope just few days ago. The event was greatly welcomed in the little town of Gubbio, where it took place. The tree stretches on the ridge of Mount Ingino and is made of more than 500 lights and 8500 electric cables, it’s 650 m high and it’s topped by a 1000 m² wide comet. It will enlighten the valley until approximately 10 January 2015.
Thanks to technology, Francis I could power the tree on from His office in the Vatican simply by using a tablet which launched a signal to the electric system in Gubbio; here in turns locals could virtually meet the Pope via teleconference.
Gubbio is the ideal destination for a lovely daily trip close to Rome: it’s just 200 km far and it can be confortably reach by train. Contact Hotelrome.net for bookings!