Rome: A Car Forces Entry Into the Vatican

May 25, 2023
Swiss Guards at St. Anne’s Gate

After being turned back by the Swiss Guards, responsible for guarding the entries to Vatican City, an individual who was trying to enter the Vatican State without permission returned, driving his car “at high speed,” forcing his way through two control gates. He was then arrested.

On Thursday, May 18, Ascension Day, a motorist arrived at a checkpoint at St. Anne’s Gate around 8 p.m., an access monitored by the Swiss Guards, and located to the right of St. Peter’s Plaza. The man, in his 40s, was first turned away because he lacked the proper authorization.

“He temporarily left the entrance and, after having maneuvered, returned at high speed, forcing the two control gates of the Swiss Guard and of the Gendarmerie of the Vatican City State,” specifies the press release.

“In an attempt to stop the car, the inspector of the Gendarmerie, on guard at the gate, fired a shot in the direction of the front tires of the vehicle.” Although he hit the left front fender of the vehicle, the car continued on its way.

The “alarm code” was then quickly broadcast by radio. Soldiers closed the Monnaie Gate which provides access to the back of St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Gardens, and St. Martha's Square, where Pope Francis has resided since his election in 2013.

In the meantime, the motorist reached the St. Damasus Courtyard, located in the heart of the Apostolic Palace. According to the statement from the Holy See, the driver got out on his own and was arrested by the gendarmes.

After his arrest, he was immediately taken care of by doctors who noted the man was in a “serious state of psycho-physical alteration.” The man is currently detained in the barracks of the Vatican gendarmerie, at the disposal of the judicial authorities, specifies the communication from the Holy See.