The Guardia di Rocca
(National Guard/Guard of the Rock) are a front-line military unit in the San Marino armed forces
, who also carry out day to day law enforcement duties.
It's precise origin is difficult to pinpoint due to amalgamations. Its role was last redefined by statute in 1987, and it probably came into being as a military branch in 1754; however, the unit also uses the name "Fortress Guards" which may be traced back to much earlier units of Sammarinese military. The Guard of the Rock are the state border patrol, with responsibility for patrolling borders and defending them. In their role as Fortress Guards they are also responsible for the guarding of the Palazzo Pubblico
in San Marino City
, which is the seat of national Government. In this role they are the forces most visible to tourists, and known for their colourful ceremony of Changing the Guard
. Under the 1987 statute the Guard of the Rock are all enrolled as 'Criminal Police Officers' (in addition to their military role) and act to assist the police in investigating major crime.
The highest rank is captain.
The uniform of the Guard of the Rock is distinctively red and green, with three dress standards. The ceremonial uniform (1) for festivals includes red trousers with a green stripe (two thinner stripes for officers), a double breasted green jacket (with red and white lanyard, red cuffs and collars, gold buttons, and red and white dress epaulettes (for officers the epaulettes are gold, and there is a gold edge to the red cuffs)), a black leather belt, and a black helmet decorated with red and white feathers. For normal guard duties (2) the uniform is similar to that described above, but with plain green epaulettes, and a simple black kepi with a single red feather plume in place of the helmet. For routine patrol duties (3) on the border the uniform is simple and modern, with red trousers, green bomber-jacket, and a green peaked hat. For ceremonial duties the Guard of the Rock carry Mauser KAR 98 rifles, always displayed with fixed bayonets. For patrol duties they are armed with 9mm Beretta pistols, and they patrol in green and white patrol cars.