President Amherd to visit Italy and the Holy See

Press releases, 29.04.2024

Swiss President Viola Amherd will travel to Rome this week to meet Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Friday, 3 May. She will then spend a long weekend visiting the Holy See. While at the Vatican, Ms Amherd will meet with Pope Francis and State Secretary Pietro Parolin and attend the swearing in ceremony for new recruits to the Pontifical Swiss Guard on Monday, 6 May. A meeting with Italian defence minister Guido Crosetto is planned for the following day.

The meetings with Mr Mattarella and the Italian government will focus on bilateral relations between Switzerland and Italy, ongoing negotiations between Switzerland and the European Union and the security situation in Europe. Ms Amherd will also provide information on preparations for the high-level conference on peace in Ukraine that is planned for mid-June at the Bürgenstock Resort. Other discussion topics will include Italy’s presidency of the G7 in 2024, relations with African countries and the situation in the Middle East.

Talks with Pope Francis and Mr Parolin will centre around the peacebuilding activities of Switzerland and the Holy See. Topics will include the Sant’Egidio lay movement’s work to foster peace in Africa and in particular within the context of the civil war in Sudan. Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East will also be discussed. Another international topic will be the commitment of the Holy See and Switzerland to international humanitarian law and the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. Both sides will also discuss the Pontifical Swiss Guard and the planned construction of its new barracks.  

Swearing in ceremony of the Pontifical Swiss Guard

New Swiss guards are traditionally sworn in on 6 May in memory of the 147 soldiers who died during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Swiss political and military representatives, as well as representatives from Switzerland’s religious communities, will travel to Rome for the swearing in ceremony, where the guest canton will be Basel-Landschaft. This year 34 new recruits from all over Switzerland will be sworn in. The Swiss Guard was founded in 1506 by Pope Julius II. It reports directly to the Pope, ensures his security and performs ceremonial duties.

In Rome on Monday Ms Amherd will visit the Istituto Svizzero, which works with various agencies of the Federal Administration to promote Swiss cultural and economic activities in Italy.

Further information:

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Italy
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Holy See (Vatican City)

Address for enquiries:

DDPS Communications
+41 58 464 50 58


Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports