The Italian Chachamim ( Gedolim) shaved their beards*, grew long hair and didn't wear Yarmulkas
Today, this sounds very strange,but it wasn't then.
The picture of R, Moshe Chafetz (Meleches Machsheves)was doctored and a Yarmulka was added on.by an ignorant person/artist.
He also made him look older than the original picture, not knowing Ben Meah Shana is a play on words and meant the Gematria of Meah (46 years) and not hundred
years. (R.M. Ch. died at age 47)
The Maharshal and other Poskim hold, Halachicly there is no reason not to say Dvorim Shebikdusha without a head covering.
R Yehuda Arye Modina** (Bais Lechem Yehuda- Ari Nohem etc.) writes on himself, he learned without head covering...
The Bais Yosef and others argue, and require head covering even when not saying Devorim Shebikdusha..
*The Chasam Sofer writes all Chachmei Italy(even Kabbalists) were clean shaven.
** He also was the mechaber of the Yom Kippur Katan Piyut "Yom Zeh Yehi Mishkal-"