Anyway, the pictures of His Holiness's visit to the parish of S.Maria Consolatrice show that he 'dressed down' a little - the floor-length coat he is wearing is known as a 'greca'. The black greca is commonly worn by curial types over the cassock during the winter. One of the most famous images of Pius XII shows him wearing the greca as he comforts the people of the San Lorenzo area of Rome following an allied bombing.
The Roamin' Roman always has interesting pictures of assorted goings-on in Rome.
There's also an article about the Christmas gifts distributed by Benedict XVI to Vatican employees:
The Vatican's 4,223 employees Dec. 14 each received a colorful Christmas
postcard depicting a reproduction of a 16th-century painting of "Adoration of
the Magi." The painting, crafted by an unknown artist, hangs in the chapel of
St. Lawrence in the Vatican.On the card's reverse side is the pope's coat of
arms and a greeting -- a quote in Latin from a sermon of St. Augustine in the
pope's handwriting."Awake mankind! For your sake God has become man," it says,
followed by Pope Benedict's signature and the year.Together with their cards,
Vatican workers also carried home a large Italian Christmas cake called
"panettone" and a bottle of Martini sparkling wine, gifts Pope John Paul II used
to give employees every year along with his own hand-signed Christmas card.But
this year Pope Benedict also included a special set of blessed rosary beads
whose metal center bears a "Madonna and Child" on one side and his coat of arms
on the other.