Nightly News   |  March 09, 2013

Artisans at work for next pope’s attire

As cardinals gather at the Vatican to make their selection, behind the scenes skilled artisans hidden away in the side streets of Rome are already hard at work for the next pope. NBC’s Keir Simmons reports.

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>>> as the cardinals get ready to go into seclusion to elect the next pope, there is another tough and exacting job going on. one that's being tailored to fit the occasion. here's nbc's keir simmons .

>> reporter: when the next pope is unveiled to the world be sure to notice the detail of his attire. the vestments. the shoes. the jewelry. as the cardinals gather to make their selection, behind the scenes , skilled artisans, hidden away in the side streets of rome, are already hard at work.

>> i'm the sixth generation that work here.

>> reporter: amazing.

>> since 1787 .

>> reporter: a tailor whose family has been making papal vestments for hundreds of years is creating the first clothes the new pope will wear. and since time is of the essence his team has already stitched together three vestments in three different sizes. can we read anything into the different sizes, as to who you think might be the next pope?

>> if you -- if you try, you can try, but if you succeed in reading something, you are much better than we are.

>> reporter: across the river from the vatican is the jeweler who crafted pope benedict 's papal ring . claudio francci was asked to create the design in just ten days. a ring seen by millions during papal blessings.

>> it is made. it is my shop.

>> reporter: then there were the pope's red shoes . hand crafted, clear across italy in near milan, down another cobbled street. adriano steph nellie has made shoes for george bush , michelle obama , and pope's john paul ii and benedict xvi . he says when the announcement comes he will work day and night. i tried to make them according to the old traditions, he said. traditions reflective, not just in ancient rituals of the conclave. or in the pomp and ceremony of the pope's first appearance. but in all his finery. keir simmons , nbc news, rome.