Tailor to the Popes
Tucked away in a small piazza, a stone's throw from the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, is Gammarelli, tailors to the upper echelons of the Catholic church for more than two hundred years. Six generations of the family have fitted out thousands of bishops, archbishops and cardinals, and over a dozen popes.
The dynasty started in 1798, during the reign of Pope Pius VI, when Giovanni Antonio Gammarelli began work as a master tailor. He was followed in the trade by his son, Filippo, and his grandson, Annibale. It was Annibale who, in 1874, transferred the business to its present premises, part of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy.
During a conclave, Gammarelli has the honour of providing outfits in three different sizes (small, medium and large) for the prospective pope.
Gammarelli claims to be the oldest shop in Rome that is still managed by direct descendants of the founder.
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
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