A catholic cleric wearing a mantelletta over his cassock.

A mantelletta, Italian diminutive of Latin mantellum 'mantle', is a sleeveless, knee-length, vest-like garment, open in front, with slits instead of sleeves on the sides, fastened at the neck, once even more common than the mozzetta.



A cardinal wearing a cassock, rochet, a mantelletta and a mozzetta

The mantelletta is probably connected with the mantellum of the Cardinals in the "Ordo" of Gregory X (1271–1276) and with the mantellum of the Prelates in the "Ordo" of Petrus Amelius (d. 1401), which was a vestment similar to a scapular. Before 1969, it was worn instead of the mozzetta over the rochet by any bishop outside his place of jurisdiction. A symbol of prelacy, but also of limitation, it was therefore always worn by auxiliary bishops (who were never in their own dioceses), by an archbishop only when outside of his province, and by a bishop only when outside of his diocese - within their own areas of jurisdiction they wore the mozzetta instead. The mantelletta was also worn by cardinals (who wore it under the mozzetta) only when in the City of Rome, as a symbol of the cardinal's rank throughout the church (hence they wore only the mozzetta even outside their own dioceses), but in deference to the pope's authority when in his home diocese (thus the only place where they wore the mantelletta).

It was likewise ordinary choir dress for several classes of monsignor, the so-called prelates di manteletta: the protonotaries apostolic de numero (the highest class of monsignor), domestic prelates (now called "prelates of honor") who are also addressed as "monsignor," and others who had been granted the privilege to wear it, including auditors of the Sacred Roman Rota and a few other high functionaries of the Vatican if they were not bishops. Certain chapters of canons have also been specifically granted the privilege.

The colour for Cardinals was ordinarily red, in penitential seasons and for times of mourning it was violet, on Gaudete and Laetare Sundays rose-colour; for the other dignitaries, the same distinctions being made, the colour was violet or black with a violet border. Cardinals and Bishops belonging to orders which have a distinctive dress, also Abbots who are entitled to wear the mantelletta, retain for it the colour of the habit of the order (gray for Franciscans, black for Dominicans, white for Cistercians, etc.). The vestment was made of silk only when it is worn by cardinals or by bishops or prelates belonging to the papal court.

Under reforms enacted by Pope Paul VI and specified by an instruction of the Secretariat of State in 1969, the mantelletta was abolished for cardinals and bishops, who now wear the mozzetta when appropriate. The violet mantelletta is no longer used except by a handful of prelates who reside in Rome, primarily the seven remaining Apostolic Protonotaries de numero and a few superior prelates of the offices of the Roman Curia if they are not bishops. It is now effectively a garment of the diocese of Rome; other monsignors do not use it. According to Noonan, the proper color of the mantelletta for chapters of canons who still wear it is grey or black with colored trim.


The mantellone differed from the mantelletta by being longer (reaching to the floor) and having wing-like sleeves and was not worn with the rochet. The mantellone was formerly used by prelates of the lowest rank, the papal chamberlains or privy chaplains (now called "Chaplain of Honor"). It was abolished by Pope Paul VI.

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  • Mantelletta — • An outer vestment reaching to the knees, open in front, with slits instead of sleeves on the sides Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Mantelletta     Mantelletta      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Mantelletta — Man tel*let ta, n. [It. mantelletta. See {Mantelet}.] (R. C. Ch.) A silk or woolen vestment without sleeves worn by cardinals, bishops, abbots, and the prelates of the Roman court. It has a low collar, is fastened in front, and reaches almost to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mantelletta — [man΄tə let′ə] n. [It, dim. < mantello < L mantellum: see MANTLE] R.C.Ch. a sleeveless vestment worn by cardinals, bishops, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Mantelletta — Man|tel|lẹt|ta, die; , ...tten [ital. mantelletta, eigtl. = Schultermantel, wohl über das Mlat. zu lat. mantellum, ↑Mantel]: vorn offenes, knielanges Gewand katholischer Prälaten, das nach dem Rang in Farbe u. Stoff verschieden ist …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Mantelletta — Man|tel|let|ta [man...] die; , ...tten <aus gleichbed. it. mantelletta, eigtl. »Schultermantel«, vermutlich aus mlat. mantelletum, Verkleinerungsform von lat. mantellum, vgl. ↑Manteau> vorn offenes, knielanges Gewand kath. Prälaten, nach… …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • mantelletta — /man tl et euh/, n. Rom. Cath. Ch. a silk or woolen sleeveless vestment reaching to the knees, worn by cardinals, bishops, and other prelates. [1850 55; < It, prob. < ML mantelletum, dim. of L mantellum MANTLE] * * * …   Universalium

  • mantelletta — noun A sleeveless, knee length vestment worn by Roman Catholic prelates …   Wiktionary

  • mantelletta — man·tel·lèt·ta s.f. 1. dim. → 1mantella 2. CO mantella corta che copre le spalle e il petto ed è parte integrante di alcune uniformi militari e religiose 3. TS eccl. mantello aperto, lungo fino al ginocchio di colore rosso o rosa a seconda delle… …   Dizionario italiano

  • mantelletta — knee length sleeveless garment worn by Catholic cardinals and bishops Ecclesiastical Terms …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • mantelletta — [ˌmantɪ lɛtə] noun (plural mantellettas or mantellette teɪ) a sleeveless vestment reaching to the knees, worn by cardinals, bishops, and other high ranking Catholic ecclesiastics. Origin C19: from Ital., from a dimin. of L. mantellum mantle …   English new terms dictionary

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