Camauro Pope Gregory XIII

Traditional Papal cap

A Camauro (meaning “camel skin hat”) is a traditional cold weather cap worn by the Pope of the Catholic Church usually at non-Church functions.

Made from red wool or velvet with white ermine trim, Papal Camauros are usually worn during the winter in place of the Zucchetto. In a similar way the Biretta worn by lower clergy and the Mortarboard worn by academics, the Camauro originates from the Academic Cap (the Pileus), originally worn to protect tonsured (shaved) clerical heads in the cold season.

It is often worn with a red mozzetta – a short elbow-length sartorial vestment.

The Camauro has been part of the papal wardrobe since the 12th century. Until 1464, it was worn by cardinals, without the ermine trim; from that date, the Camauro became exclusively a papal garment and cardinals wore the scarlet biretta instead.

The Papal Camauro fell into disuse after the death of John XXIII in 1963. It was revived once only in December 2005 by Benedict XVI.

The Doge of Venice wore a Camauro as part of their headdress, worn under the Corno Ducale or stiff peaked cap. Every Easter Monday, the Doge headed a procession from San Marco to the convent of San Zaccaria where the Abbess presented him with a new linen Camauro handcrafted by the nuns.

Famous Camouro wearers

  • Pope Gregory XIII
  • Pope John XXIII
  • Popes of the Catholic Church
  • Doge of Venice
Camauro Pope Gregory XIII