The Quirinale, the official seat of the President of the Republic, is the main symbol of the life of the Italian Republic. The Palace is a tourist destination, not only for its architectural magnificence and for the splendid furnishings and gardens, but also for the solemn Changing of the Guard, which takes place every Sunday at 4 pm during the winter period and at 6 pm during the summer.
The President’s Honor Guard is represented by a special military corp made up of eighty Corazzieri, the elected corp of the Carabinieri. It represents one of the most spectacular military corps in the world. The pride, the splendor of horses and armor, offer us a show that has nothing to envy of the equally well-known Changing of the Guard of Buckingham Palace.
During the ceremony, accompanied by the Guardia di Finanza band, with a series of music that culminates with the National Anthem, the Corazzieri on horseback perform a series of very suggestive choreographic manoeuvres, siding in the most varied ways in the Piazza del Quirinale.
The history of the Corazzieri del Quirinale
The origins of the Corps of Corazzieri date back to the 14th century when Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy formed a first nucleus of personal defense officers, known as the Prince’s Honor Guard. Since then they were bound by an oath of loyalty to the prince, which was formally dissolved on 13 June 1946, the year in which following the proclamation of the Republic, King Umberto I of Savoy left Italy to go into exile.
When in 1948 Luigi Einaudi was proclaimed President of the Republic, he restored the “Squadron Carabinieri Guard” with nineteenth-century historical uniforms, and it officially returned to the Quirinale.
Only in 1992 it was officially named the Corazzieri Regiment, thanks to two decrees of the President of the Republic.
To become Corazziere you need a hard training in addition to the physical characteristics that provide height not less than one meter 90 and excellent physical strength. They are expert shooters, they practice martial arts, they are excellent riders and powerful motorcycle riders, like the Moto Guzzi California they can serve on.
A final anecdote about the splendid horses that are expertly trained. Because of the height of the Corazzieri, Italian horses that almost never exceed the bar of one meter and 75 at the withers, could not be used. The specimens were purchased at a high price abroad. But recently, in an Apulian cattery in Martina Franca, three foals were selected that met the requirements and, moreover, grew with the system of “gentle taming”. This makes it possible to obtain more docile and tame specimens suitable for performing their tasks even in the crowd.
Contact us for more information or to organize a guided tour of the Quirinale on opening days.