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Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wearing the ferraiolo, 1952
(Library of Congress).

The ferraiolo or ferraiuolo is a type of cape traditionally worn by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church on formal, non-liturgical occasions. It can be worn over the shoulders, or behind them, extends in length to the ankles, is tied in a bow by narrow strips of cloth at the front, and does not have any 'trim' or piping on it.

The colour of the ferraiolo is determined by the rank of the cleric, being black for priests, violet for supernumerary protonotaries apostolic and bishops and scarlet watered silk for cardinals.[1] A ferraiolo of watered silk also denotes the wearer is an apostolic nuncio or is attached to the Papal household. The Pope does not wear a ferraiolo.

As with many other items of clerical clothing and vestments, the ferraiolo originated as an item of clothing for Roman citizens, originally being knee-length.



  1. Ceremonial of Bishops, Cæremoniale Episcoporum. Congregation for Divine Worship, 14 Sep 1984. 1205.