Opened in 1798, Gammarelli is the official tailor to the Pope. They provide everything - garments, shoes, hats, accessories, and yes even the socks. They have provided the clothing for every pope since Pope Pius VI to the current pope. (Except Pius XII who had a private tailor). Pius VI reportedly liked embroidered sleeves and a luxurious fur lined cape (source).
It is a two minute walk from the Pantheon, so it is easy to incorporate in your travel itinerary. Just look for the storefront with the ecclesiastical clothing and chalices. Below the name of the store are the words Sartoria Per Ecclesiastici which means “clerical outfitters”.
Started by Giovanni Antonio Gammarelli, the shop has been in the family for generations, passed down from son to son. And while you may see a bishop or priest frequent the store, the Pope will never visit (they go to the Pope instead!)
Fun fact: During each conclave (the meeting of the cardinals to elect a new Pope), Gammarelli is tasked with making a new white cassock in three different sizes in preparation for the potential new Pope. The cassock is changed every two months as the silver cross that is worn across the chest will leave a stain and oxidize (source).
Via di S. Chiara, 34, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Closed Saturday and Sunday
The reason why this store is popular with tourists is because of the socks. What kind of socks you say? Well bright scarlet red socks with which you can buy, the same ones that supposedly the Pope wears! So while you can’t meet the Pope when you’re in Rome due to scheduling conflicts, you can buy his favorite socks!
I was inspired by other blogs who mentioned their sock purchasing success stories and decided that I too, would like to own a pair of scarlet red Pope socks.
When I walked in, the shop was very quiet. There were only a few people in the store and they seemed to work there. After a few moments of awkward silence where I pretended to inspect a deep purple garment (see photograph above), the store clerk asked what I was looking for. I replied that I would like to “buy some… socks”. I was waiting for a look of puzzlement to stir upon his face but instead he nodded understandingly. “What color and size would you like?” he asked politely. I was surprised that there were other colors but I knew there was only one color for me (scarlet red!). He took down my requests and went to go fetch a couple of white boxes. Good service.
Of note is that they only carry Men’s sizes, so adjust accordingly. They were 13 Euros when I purchased them in 2018.
The socks are made of 100% cotton and make a fabulous souvenir or gift. Only in Rome would you find a shop that has existed since the late 1700s to offer bespoke tailoring to the clergy. Why would you purchase that ugly magnet of the Colosseum? Don’t tell me you fell for the miniature marble statue…
These socks are sold on other websites at a slightly higher price in case you missed out when you were in Rome.