Italian Chapel

The Italian Chapel on the small island of Lambholm, is without doubt one of the quirkier historic attractions that Orkney has to offer. It dates back to World War II, when a few hundred Italian prisoners of war, captured during the North African campaign, were sent to Orkney to work on the Churchill Barriers – a series of massive concrete causeways designed to protect Scapa Flow from German U-boat attacks from the North Sea.

The Chapel itself is constructed from two Nissen huts placed end to end and joined together, but thanks to the creative genius of the Italian PoWs, especially Domenico Chiocchetti, the mundane huts were transformed over time in to something considerably more beautiful.

Italian Chapel 1 Italian Chapel 2 Italian Chapel 3 Italian Chapel 4

© Mark Simms Photography (2013)

6 Responses to “Italian Chapel”

  1. carlossereno

    What an interesting chapel with the huge contrast between the decorated facade and the utilitarian main body.

  2. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography)

    What an amazing transformation. So much detail in the interior.

  3. the dune mouse (CybeleMoon)

    I was very touched by this little chapel. Looking at the photos of the prisoners, so young and far from their own country I was so impressed that they created such an exquisite place of spiritual solace and a piece of home – man’s striving!! It was deeply moving, perhaps because my own father is Italian!! Mom was born in Scotland of both Scots and Irish heritage. I fell in love with Scotland and Ireland. I may return this year though it’s a long trip for us and expensive. No, I “must” return!!

    • Mark Simms

      I know it’s a beautiful little chapel…especially when you consider what they had to work with. My wife and I love Scotland…..we may well move there one day. We’ve never been to Canada though…..but it’s on the bucket list.


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