Dressing the popes for six generations — the Gammarellis

For five generations, the Gammarelli family has dressed and shod popes, beginning with Pope Pius IX in 1846, and stretching up to Pope Francis.

The family business has now passed to a sixth generation, which stands ready to keep tailoring for popes from their perch near Rome’s Pantheon.

For five generations, the Gammarellis have dressed and shod the Vicar of Christ through their family business, Rome’s historic Ditta Annibale Gammarelli, located on the city’s Via di Santa Chiara near the Pantheon.

Now, after the recent death of manager Annibale Gammeralli, the business will pass to the hands of a sixth generation.

Established in 1798 by Giovanni Antonio Gammarelli, the “Ditta” was founded under Pius VI as a tailor for the Roman clergy. After Giovanni died, management of the shop passed to his son Filippo, and then to Filippo’s son Annibale.

In 1874 Annibale moved the shop from its original location to its current spot just steps away from the Pantheon. It’s located inside the same building as the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the prestigious institute that forms future Vatican diplomats.

When Annibale died, his sons Bonaventura and Giuseppe decided to keep the name “Ditta Annibale Gammarelli” as an homage to their father – a name that has since become known to clergy throughout Italy and the world.

In an additional act of homage, Bonaventura decided to name his own son after his father: making the late Annibale Gammarelli the second to carry the name of the family business and to carry it forward.

Annibale passed away July 12 in Rome after a long career managing the sartorial workshop, leaving it in the care of his son Stefano Paolo and his nephews Maximillian and Lorenzo, who are the sixth generation to sew garments for the Pope.

During each conclave the Gammerellis are charged with making three white cassocks in different sizes –  small, medium and large – which sit ready and waiting for the new Successor of Peter. Continue reading


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