On a windswept shoreline on the Scottish Isle of Orkney stands one of the strangest-looking chapels ever. How did it get there, and how did a wartime disaster end up commemorated by a symbol of faith and the fortitude of Christian men so far from home?
The story of the Italian Chapel is as famous as the building itself. Built by Italian prisoners of war, the chapel is testimony to their resolve, skills and imagination, and is held in great affection by Orcadians and visitors from around the world.
La Bella Cappella Italiana is one of Orkney’s most visited attractions and the source of arguably the most poignant story from Scotland’s involvement in World War Two.
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During their stay, the prisoners of Camp 60 on Lamb Holm were given permission to build a place of worship. The transformation of two old Nissen huts into a beautiful chapel was masterminded by Domenico Chiocchetti and is nothing short of remarkable given the limited materials at their disposal. Chiocchetti returned to Orkney in 1960 to assist with restoration work and when he died in 1999 his wife and daughter attended a memorial requiem mass at the Chapel in his honour.