The Italian Chapel consists of two Nissen huts transformed into a beautiful chapel by Domenico Chiocchetti and his colleagues, Italian prisoners of war captured in North Africa and transported to the Island of Lamb Holm in Orkney.
In October 1939 a German submarine under the command of Gunther Prien entered Scapa Flow and sank the British battleship ‘HMS Royal Oak’ with the loss of 834 lives. Winston Churchill, at that time First Sea Lord, visited Orkney and the decision was taken to construct barriers to close off four of the entrances to Scapa Flow to make the base for the home fleet more secure.
A shortage of manpower to construct the barriers coincided with the capture of thousands of Italian soldiers fighting in North Africa, so a decision was taken to transport 550 men to Camp 60 on Lamb Holm and a similar number to Camp 34 in Burray.
Following a request from the camp priest, Fr Giacobazzi, it was agreed that two Nissen huts would be joined together to provide a chapel. Among the Italians in Camp 60 was an artist, Domenico Chiocchetti, and he was given the task of transforming the two Nissen huts into a chapel. He was assisted by other tradesmen – in particular Giuseppe Palumbi, a blacksmith, and Domenico Buttapasta, a cement worker.