For over 500 years, the Swiss Guard has been protecting the Pope in the Vatican and wearing metal helmets that burn their skin in the hot Roman sun – but these days are over 120 members of the Private army of the Holy See.
The old metal helmet was replaced by a 3D-printed, high-tech version of the 21st century made of UV-resistant PVC, a common type of plastic.
The first wave of 95 helmets from a total of 150 broadcasts arrived Tuesday at the headquarters of the Swiss Guard at the Vatican, where cadets were for the first time ready to carry them.
They often have to stand for several hours during the Pope's Occasion, and Swiss Guard Nicolas Albert believes that the hidden vents on the new helmet are a significant improvement. "There's more room between your head and the top of the helmet for the air to flow through," he said.
The new helmet is made of PVC, a kind of plastic.
The special feature The headgear, also known as Morion, has undergone various changes over the 500 years since the founding of the Swiss Guard, but is traditionally made of metal.
The new design was created by engineer Peter Portmann and the Swiss company 3D prototype by scanning. In the 16th century, a model was created, which was made of PVC and painted with a UV-resistant water-based paint. It takes only one day to make a helmet while the metal model took several days.
The new versions are also cheaper than the previous ones and each cost about $ 1,000, which are paid by private donors.
Swiss Guard during a swearing-in ceremony in the Vatican City. Photo credits: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP / AFP / Getty Images
American businessman Jack Boyd Smith, president of Gaska Tape Inc in Indiana, and his wife Laura supported part of the project. "I think it's exciting," Smith said. "Change is always good, it's new and modern, but it will, so to speak, be compatible with the old guard."
Tuesday was the 513th anniversary of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, which was formally established on January 22, 1506. The guards came to receive their new helmets. The Swiss Guard Nicolas Albert said that there is a hint of restrained enthusiasm. "Many of them are looking forward to wearing them because they did not really like the old helmets," he said. "But you wear what you get," he added.
A Swiss guard in the traditional colorful uniform. Credit: ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP / AFP / Getty Images
Unlike a popular myth, Michelangelo did not design the colorful, distinctive uniforms of the Swiss Guard. While the uniform dates from the Renaissance, the colors were chosen by Pope Julius II, who founded the Swiss Guard in 1506, and Pope Leo X, who succeeded him in 1513. The colors yellow, red and blue stand for their family colors: the historic families Della Rovere and De & # 39; Medici of the Renaissance.
The Swiss Guard is currently recruiting, but not all are eligible. In fact, only single Swiss who practice Catholic men between the ages of 19 and 30 years and over 1.74 meters are considered for this job.