The tailor who has been dressing popes, cardinals for 70 years

By Cristina Cabrejas

Vatican City, Aug 24 (EFE).- With just a few days left until the appointment of 20 new cardinals elected by Pope Francis, Raniero Mancinelli’s tailor shop has been working around the clock to prepare the religious men’s attires on time.

“This year we didn’t even take holiday because we have had to work all throughout August to prepare for the consistory, we are in the final stretch,” Mancinelli tells Efe.

The tailor, who has been dressing cardinals for some 70 years, does not reveal how many members of the Catholic Church he has worked for.

“I don’t want to reveal exactly how many but let’s say that I am very satisfied with my work,” he says.

The 85-year-old does, however, reveal he has worked for three different popes who have been good clients of the historic tailor shop in Rome’s Borgo district, neighboring the Vatican City.

“I may not look like it but I am old and I have served three popes,” Mancinelli says, adding that he dressed former popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI as well as the present Pope Francis.

“With Benedict, we had a very close relationship, we were like family because I knew him since he was a cardinal,” the tailor says, adding that Pope Francis is the more “simple” one out of the three popes he worked for.

Proudly standing next to a robe ready to be collected for one of the cardinals, Mancinelli explains how the religious attires have changed with time.

“Before they used to wear two mozzettas, a lighter one and a heavier one, but now they only use one,” he says.

The tailor adds that attires used to be more elaborate and expensive but that today, they are worth “just” a few thousand euros.

“I used to make robes with 8 meter long tails, but we don’t do those anymore, today they are much more simple, light and quite accessible.

“Cardinals nowadays don’t care to wear expensive, prestigious clothes,” he says, insisting that while customs have changed, the quality of his clothes has not dropped.

In the coming consistory, Pope Francis has elected 20 new cardinals from all corners of the world including Nigeria, India, Ghana and Colombia among other countries.

“As a tailor, I try my best to make sure the cardinal is well dressed. It’s not because I want my suits to be seen, I just really want the cardinal to be well dressed,” Mancinelli says. EFE


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