The Italian Chapel on Orkney is located 8 miles south of Kirkwall. It was built from two Nissen huts by Italian prisoners of war who were stationed in Orkney during World War 2. The Italians had been brought to Orkney to provide additional manpower to build the Churchill sea barriers. The sea barriers were to stop further intrusions by German submarines after the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak. The work to build the sea barriers was hard and arduous work and carried out by hundreds of Italian prisoners who had been captured in North Africa.
The camp priest, Fr Giacobazzi, asked Domenico Chiocchetti, to convert the Nissen Huts into a chapel. Chiocchetti was a talented artist and he was assisted by other tradesmen – in particular Giuseppe Palumbi, a blacksmith, and Domenico Buttapasta, a cement worker.
The image above the altar was based on a painting of the Madonna and Child by Nicolo Barabino. This image was on a small prayer card that Domenico Chiocchetti’s mother had given to him before he left his home in Italy.