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. can provide with more info on sites and events in Rome to better enjoy your stay in the Eternal City!



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 for bookings!

The beatification of John Paul II

– One of the most remarkable events this year will be the beatification of the beloved John Paul II. Crowds from all around the world will flock to the Ethernal City this summer and the accomodation facilities will be working at full capacity:  make your reservation now!


Few historical characters are as significant and inspirational as the late  Jean Paul II. During his long potificate pope Wojtyla (his actual last name) traveled the third world spreading the faith among the poor of the world, helped to bring down communism on his native Poland and gave a new, more human and contemporary face to catholicism.

A true symbol of his age, John Paul II suffered the horror of the second world war and survived it to become the first Polish pope (and the first non-Italian pope in centuries) and one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century.

Proabbly the best-loved pope ever, Wojtyla passed away 5 years ago, and now the catholic church has determined to beatify him. A not very orthodox decision, considering that usually it is required to wait at least 5 years after a person’s death to start the beatification process,


but given the influence and spiritual power of John Paul II the catholic hierarchy, guided by Wojtyla’s trusted collaborator, Joseph Ratzinger,  deemed the waiting unnecessary and activated the beatification process as soon as possible.

The ceremony will take place the 1st of May 2011 at Saint Peter’s and according to Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi, an invitation is not required to attend the ceremony.  Everyone traveling to Rome is welcome. The eyes and hearts of the whole world will turn to the eternal city to follow John Paul II in yet another travel: that of sanctity. Dont’ miss one of the most important events of this new year and make now a reservation at Hotel Des Artistes or Yes Hotel, hurry up or you will run the risk of not finding accomodation in what will be one of the periods of maximum occupation ever in Rome!

Our blogger: Raul