Vatican City, Jan 22, 2019 / 11:04 am
As the Swiss Guards celebrated their 513th anniversary Tuesday, they donned for the first time their new light-weight helmets, which are made of black PVC and 3D printed.
The plastic helmets replace those made of metal, which were easily dented, and which would get so hot from the Roman sun in the summer months they could cause blisters on the guards' ears.
Printed in Switzerland, the new helmets were unveiled by Swiss Guard Commander Christoph Graf during a press conference last May, but were formally added to the uniform Jan. 22 as part of the anniversary celebrations of the world's smallest-but-oldest standing army.
Per tradition, the day's anniversary festivities began with Mass in the Church of Santa Maria della Pieta in the Vatican's Teutonic College, followed by a march of the Swiss Guards from the chapel to the Swiss Guard quarters on the opposite side of Vatican City.