Swiss Guard officers manning the official customs point between Rome and the Vatican City began pulling aside members of the public dressed in 'inappropriate' clothing early in the morning. Men in shorts and women with exposed knees or uncovered shoulders were all stopped by the officers, who asked them if they knew "how things worked here." Bewildered locals, accustomed to treating the Vatican much like any other part of Rome, initially assumed a new bureaucratic procedure was in force. Prescriptions, letters and shopping permits were hastily produced as evidence of plans to use the Vatican's pharmacy, post office and shop. Only to be told the real reason was their clothing.
Typically the dress codes are only for those entering St. Peter's Basilica or other areas of the Vatican beyond the Plaza, like the Gardens, for example. The change is now that tourists are even being stopped from entering the Plaza in tank tops and shorts.
We've definitely been to the Vatican in a tank top before, and although we wouldn't mind being pulled over by a Swiss Guard, we wouldn't want it to be for that reason. And the Guardia di Finanza would do well to keep their hands to themselves, but that's another topic altogether. Just be warned that the
Swiss Guard Vatican Fashion Police are now on the prowl.