THE recession continues to bite in Italy but at least one small business was all smiles at the weekend, with news that the Vatican had come shopping having chosen six new cardinals.
When a bishop is made a cardinal or "prince of the church", he ditches his violet-coloured garments for new red ones. Gammarelli – tailors to the Pope since 1798 – will be employed to make a pair of cassocks – one red and one black – for around €1,500.
Then there are red mozzetta hoods at €200 a pop; three-pointed hats at €100, zucchetto skull caps and special red socks, as well as a fascia or sash at €120.
The cardinals get two sets of each of these outfits, which brings the total order to a princely €5,000 for each cardinal-elect.