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The Italian Chapel

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  256 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Domenico Chiocchetti was a quiet, kindly man, an Italian artist caught up in a war that would change his life forever. When he and his friends and fellow prisoners of war arrived on the tiny Orkney island of Lamb Holm in January 1942, they found a freezing, windswept wilderness and a seemingly impossible task - to build giant causeways in the sea to protect the British Nav ...more
ebook, 159 pages
Published May 14th 2014 by Black & White Publishing (first published January 1st 2009)
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Claire McAlpine
Jul 07, 2014 Claire McAlpine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Claire by: M Mallon
Shelves: fiction
A delightful, life-affirming read inspired by the true story of Camp 60, Italian POW captives at Lamb Holm, Orkney Islands, building the causeways and then a chapel, saved from destruction and still standing today.

The author has added some fictional characters where information has been lost, but many of the events are based on actual events that took place, its tragic, funny, uplifting and somewhat reassuring in terms of humanity and its underlying need for building bridges between people and
Despite being an atheist I do like churches as buildings and after reading this I want to visit Orkney to see the Italian Chapel.
M J Mallon
Jul 04, 2014 M J Mallon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
4.5 Stars.

This is a beautifully inspiring book, which just oozes charm and wonder. A big heart for this one. This fictional story based on true life events is set amidst the chaos and heartache of the Second World War. Italian prisoners of war are transported to the tiny Orkney island of Lamb Holm in January 1942. There they work together against the odds and the Scottish elements, to build the Churchill Barriers at Scapa Flow and a lasting monument to peace, and reconciliation. When Padre Giaco
May 23, 2017 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A truly heartwarming story and easy to read. I recently visited the chapel and although fictionalised to a degree (as explained in the afterword) it tallies with the stories we heard from locals when we were there.
Highly recommend reading this before or after a visit to this wonderful Chapel in the Orkney islands.
Dec 27, 2016 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Was recommended to me some time ago , and although I thought it was ok , it just didn't do it for me. I felt it went on for too long
May 19, 2017 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just visited the chapel, I found this book very enjoyable. It is well written and does match the stories that I heard when I was there.
Pete F
Jan 15, 2015 Pete F rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have finished reading a book called 'The Italian Chapel', by Philip Paris, a combination of fact and fiction, but mostly fact. I was very interested in this book and the title jumped out at me when I saw it in the library in the fiction shelves. The reason being, is that I have been to the chapel myself, when I was in the Orkney Islands in 1999. It is situated on the small Orkney Island of Lamb Holm. It was built during World War II by Italian POWs, who were working on the nearby Churchill Ba ...more
Sonya Alford
May 22, 2014 Sonya Alford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was kindly given 'The Italian Chapel' to read by Black and White Publishing. Originally published in 2009, it was recently republished on the 6th March 2014. Although fictional, this book is based on a true story. Philip Paris has also written 'Orkney’s Italian Chapel', which is non-fiction.

In January 1942 over 500 Italian prisoners of war arrived on the Orkney island of Lamb Holm. They were given the enormous task of building several causeways in order to protect the British Navy. To the men
Sep 12, 2014 Vanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: skotsko
V říjnu 1939 pronikla do zálivu Scapa Flow na Orknejích německá ponorka a potopila britskou bitevní loď Royal Oak, která tam kotvila. Na těchto ostrovech, severně od skotské pevniny, sídlila hlavní britská námořní základna 2. světové války. Vzhledem k jejich vzdálenosti byly považovány za bezpečné, takže šok z útoku a ztráty 833 životů byl ohromný. Winston Churchill nařídil mamutí stavbu řady hrází, které měly záliv chránit před dalšími útoky a lví podíl na jejich konstrukci měli italští váleční ...more
Jun 12, 2012 Regie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scotland
The Italian Chapel on Orkney is remarkable. We visited it a few years ago and I was struck by the overwhelming sense of peace that pervades the very fabric of the building. I'm not a religious bloke, far from it, but there's no denying that the little chapel on a bend in the road at the end of the Churchill Barriers is a very special place indeed. We visited a lot of ancient sites on that trip - our reason for going to Orkney in the first place was to explore the island's rich arcaeological heri ...more
Angela Petch
Jan 22, 2017 Angela Petch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If an Irish gaffer had not been moved by the sight of this special Italian chapel which he and his crew had been ordered to demolish on a tiny island in Orkney in the spring of 1946, we would not have this delightful account.
I remember reading about the chapel in a Sunday Times Magazine a couple of years ago, so was delighted to come across Philip Paris's book. And I love it. A perfect example of how history can be blended with narrative, it was a page turner for me. I know Italy well and the st
Darkpool (protesting GR censorship)
A really charming story. I think it suffered a bit from being based on fact; it seemed utterly wrong to me that the chapel should be only just completed before the community that built it were moved on. It just seems such a shame. But reality's a bit like that, and perhaps that just adds to the poignancy of the tale. The way the chapel benefited the men was as a project to pour their love, faith and creativity into rather than simply as a place of worship.
The epilogue, and the authors note at t
Jan 17, 2014 Marianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this book down when I was reading it - I just found it fascinating and despite being Scottish, I actually didn't know anything about this prior to reading the book.

The biggest compliment I can pay is that after finishing, I immediately googled for more information and started trying to plan a trip to see it, although perhaps that is more a testament to the actual men of Camp 60 and less to do with this book.

The book though is an easy read, that gives you plenty of information and
Jan 24, 2015 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
During WWII, a group of Italian prisoners of war were taken to a camp on Lamb Holm, one of the Orkney islands. They were given the job of creating four barriers between several of the islands to prevent German submarines from travelling into the area. Several battleships were sunk prior to the barriers known as the Churchill barriers were completed. The prisoners decided to build a chapel to fulfill their spiritual needs. The men in charge of the camp supported them in their efforts and helped t ...more
May 13, 2014 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really caught me by surprise and I loved it. I knew nothing about the Italian prisoners in Scotland in ww2 and was fascinated by this story. It's based on fact with fictional elements running through . The little details on how the men used their lives while prisoners, how they, begged and scavenged for resources to build their chapel and the inter relationships between the prisoners the guards and the local population kept me hooked. Nearly all,the men in camp 60 were involved , using ...more
Laura of Lurking
This book truly touched my heart. I hadn't heard of the causeways in Orkney, let alone the POWs there and the chapel. Their stories jumped off the page at me, their plight against the weather, the British and each other, as well as the small joys they found on life. Despite having a large cast each character was memorable and I truly cared for them.

Often books with a title so linked to religion have put me off, but while this book covers the production of said chapel it is more about the people,
Jan 04, 2014 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘They didn’t dig a tunnel…they built a chapel. It’s a symbol.’ Philip Paris’s thinly fictionalised account of how Domenico Chiocchetti and his fellow prisoners created a bit of Italy in this windswept corner of a Scottish island. The novel itself is a fictionalised account of the stories of many of those there – 90% is based on reality, with a healthy dose of creativity to fill in the gaps. It reveals a fascinating story with Orkney history, and has a really good feel good factor that makes me r ...more
Being a story based in fact but fictionally recounted proves a double-edged sword for _The Italian Chapel_, as it appears to have left the author with a compulsion to tell the entire tale. In truth, it would have been better leaving it when the gates were closed behind the last PoW and the few remaining guards. That was an ending enough for the fictionalised version. Going on to recount the restoration was an unnecessary addition. It dragged out the story when it had already reached a satisfacto ...more
Michael Cayley
During WW2 a group of Italian prisoners of war were sent to Orkney. There, largely in their free time from creating causeways to protect Scapa Flow and link some of the smaller islands, they built a chapel, using a couple of Nissen huts and whatever materials were available. It is still standing and is one of the most beautiful places to visit if you go to Orkney. This novel, based as far as possible on fact, tells the story of the chapel's construction and how work on it brought meaning to the ...more
Dorinda Balchin
Jun 06, 2016 Dorinda Balchin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting fictional book based on fact. The story of the Italian soldiers who were held as prisoners of war and built a chapel in the Orkneys is fascinating. I found it an enjoyable read but didn't give it 5 stars as I felt that some of the dialogue was a little stilted and the author sometimes didn't seem sure as to whether he was writing a report or a story. Still, it is an fascinating story which I recommend.
Oct 04, 2014 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Down loaded this on my Kindle as had visited the Italian Chapel in Orkney last year. This was an interesting and compelling read telling the story of the Italian POW who built the chapel.Enjoyed it and would recommend anyone getv
Topportunity to visit Orkney and see the chapel it is truly inspiring
A really interesting fictionalised true story of the Italian POWS in Camp 60 on the Island of Lamb Holm who build an amazing chapel out of converted Nissen Huts in their camp during WW2. However, I felt the writing was rather disappointing- clunky and passionless- the story could have been written so much better.
Jul 30, 2014 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story of a memorable WW2 tale, it shows clearly how PoWs and British soldiers, and even local residents, can understand and support each other even during a war.

The story was not brilliantly written but the story itself and the characters involved make the book well worth a read, and if you're thinking of visiting Orkney, do go and see the chapel.
Phil Jones
Couldn't finish it. The author has carried out a great deal of research to ensure the story is an accurate record of events. But well-researched and well-written are two different things. This reads like a newspaper article stretched beyond reason into a 'novel' where the reader is spared no tedious detail.
Jan 08, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is part fiction, part fact.
Having been to the Italian Chapel on Orkney, the book helped me understand what life must have been like, who worked there and the love and commitment given by all concerned.
I found it quite emotional, especially the factual bit.
Aug 14, 2013 Veronica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This book was hard to put down. The fact that it is based on fact, made it even more readable. I really enjoyed it, and have looked up pictures on the internet of the Italian Chapel, which I would love to visit one day.
Ruth Innes
Jan 31, 2013 Ruth Innes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with the Italian Chapel when I visited it last year. Found this book for my Kindle and romped through it in no time. Then discovered in the epilogue that it is part fiction, part history. Interesting read but some bits to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Oct 04, 2014 Lorna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably just ok in fact. Nothing to write home about.
May 31, 2015 Igor rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
didn't finish. average
Maureen Farrimond
Aug 17, 2013 Maureen Farrimond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scotland
Now I want to see the chapel for real!! I feel Orkney will have to be our next holiday! A magnificant story based on real events.
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