Italian Chapel

When 550 Italian soldiers were captured in the scorching North African desert back in 1942, it must have caused them quite a shock to be sent in winter to the Scottish isle of Orkne. The POWs were sent here in order to build the “Churchill Barriers,” a series of causeways that would protect the British Grand Fleet in the Scapa Flow harbor. By 1943, the homesick workers requested a chapel where they could worship. What did they get? Two Nissen huts, which they were told to join end-to-end and labor over outside work hours. 
 
What happened next is a beautiful symbol of peace, faith and the power of human ingenuity even in wartime. Local Orkney artists provided brushes and poster paints to decorate the huts; bully beef tins were converted into makeshift candle holders; wood scavenged from shipwrecks was used to create furniture; a car exhaust was covered in concrete to create a Baptismal font. Slowly but surely, those two steel sheds became the Roman Catholic chapel of the Italians’ dreams. 
 
The main man behind the chapel’s decoration was POW Domenico Chiocchetti, who painted a false frontage so that it really looked like the Roman Catholic churches of home. He was so dedicated to the project that when everyone was sent home in 1944, he stayed on to finish the project.

In 1960, Chiocchetti returned to Orkney from his home in Moena, Italy, to assist with a restoration projection of the chapel. When he left three weeks later, he wrote a letter to the people of Orkney: "The chapel is yours, for you to love and preserve. I take with me to Italy the remembrance of your kindness and wonderful hospitality.” 

Practical Info

Cared for by local volunteers, entry to the Italian Chapel is free. From Orkney’s main town of Kirkwall, the church is an eight-mile drive south. 

Location
Adres: Lamb Holm, Orkney, Scotland, Schotland
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Tours en activiteiten (2)

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Dagtrip vanuit Inverness naar de Orkney-eilanden

Tijdens deze dagtrip vanuit Inverness bezoekt u een aantal van de belangrijkste bezienswaardigheden van de Orkney-eilanden waaronder Skara Brae, de Churchill Barriers, Scapa Flow, de Ring of Brodgar en de Standing Stones of Stenness. U maakt ook een stop in Kirkwall, waar u de prachtige 12e-eeuwse kathedraal van St. Magnus kunt bekijken.
  • Duur: 14 uur
  • Aangeboden in: Engels
Vanaf
US$ 89,70
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  • Duur: 14 uur
  • Aangeboden in: Engels
Vanaf
US$ 89,70

3-Day Orkney Islands Tour from Inverness

Discover the mystic and dramatic beauty of the far-flung Orkney Islands on this 3-day excursion from Inverness. With a friendly guide, journey across the Pentland Firth to wind-swept Orkney archipelago, bursting with wildlife and picture-perfect vistas. Visit villages steeped in Viking mystery and landmarks like the Lamb Holm Italian Chapel and the UNESCO-listed Standing Stones of Stenness. Two evenings in a 3-star hotel or B&B and daily breakfast included.
  • Duur: 3 dagen
Vanaf
US$ 435,69
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  • Duur: 3 dagen
Vanaf
US$ 435,69


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