Gino Caprara has been back to Orkney and the Italian Chapel five times since 1992, but at the age of 93 he expects this recent visit may be his last.
Gino was one of many Italian Prisoners of war brought to Orkney in 1942 to build the Churchill barriers, he was posted on the tiny island of Burray until 1945.
In 1943 the PoW’s converted 2 nissen huts on the neighbouring island of Lamb Holm into a chapel. With a team of artists and craftsmen brought together by PoW Domenico Chiocchetti, the ‘Miracle of Camp 60’ was realised.
Gino has many memories of the chapel, his colleagues who built it and the friendly Orcadians who made them feel welcome.
Orkney’s Italian Chapel is a breathtaking work of art, earning a special place in the hearts of locals who set up a preservation committee in 1958 to maintain it.
If one is lucky enough to visit on the rare occasion when there are no tourists, it is truly a humbling experience.
Exhibition in Rome
A major exhibition about Orkney’s Italian chapel is being held in Rome at the end of November.
Gino Caprara’s memories of day to day life in the Italian PoW camps of Orkney became fundamental to Philip Paris, author of “Orkney’s Italian Chapel – The true story of an icon”.
This incredibly well researched, detailed and moving book is based around the lives of those who built the Churchill Barriers and the stunning Italian Chapel which is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Orkney.
STV news article – Former PoW revisits Orkney Italian Chapel
Philip Paris’ website – Author of Orkney’s Italian Chapel
This six-minute film about the Italian chapel was produced by award winning amateur filmmaker Pauline M Johnson from Edinburgh.
She won the 2012 ‘Choice of Clubs’ competition, which is open to all Scottish (and Carlisle) video clubs. The film about the chapel was chosen to represent the Edinburgh Cine and Video Society.