Orkney Italian Chapel

A couple of years ago, my family and I went camping to Orkney, and while we were there we went to the Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm. The chapel was built by some 550 Italian prisoners of war, who were captured in 1942 in North Africa and brought to Orkney to build the Churchill Barriers (the causeways which join some of the small islands up to the mainland). I am so impressed by what these men achieved while they were in Orkney. If you ever get a chance to go there, you really must go in for a look. I took quite a lot of photos while I was there, but really their attention to detail, their loving craftsmanship, their perseverance, their resourcefulness can only be truly appreciated in person. The photos will give you an idea though…

Churchill Barrier

This is one of the Churchill Barriers that they were sent to build

St George

This is the statue of St George that Domenico Chiocchetti, the prisoner who later led the work on the chapel, built out of barbed wire and concrete.

Italian Chapel (outside)

This is the chapel from the outside…

Italian Chapel (inside)

…and from the inside.

Italian Chapel Ceiling

It is beautifully painted right up to the ceiling!

Italian Chapel Lantern

They used whatever materials they could find; this lantern was fashioned out of tin cans.

For more on the history of the chapel, The Orcadian has a feature on it (parts 1 and 2).


August 31, 2007. Inspiration.

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