The Italian Chapel of St Francis oof Assisi is located just outside the Masvingo Army Barracks on the Mutare Road, less than 30-minute drive from Romelda Lakeside Retreat.
Built by the Italian internees in the early 1940’s the chapel is an ode to the historical signifcance of the area, where German, Austrian and Italian enemy aliens where offered refuge in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) during World War II.
Hosted at various camps around Zimbabwe the internees were offered various schemes to keep them employed. The building of the Chapel was one of these schemes and eventually became the final resting place for Italian Soldiers who died in the British Prison Camp of Fort Victoria (Masvingo) as well as marble plaques commemorating the 70+ internees.
It takes approximately 15-30 minutes to have a quick wonder around and enjoy some of the quirky wall and ceiling paintings that are totally unexpected. A wonder around the grounds, including the small intimate cemetery and inside the church.
A visit to the Italian Chapel is free, a couple of caretakers will happily open up and show you around - we do encourage a small donation be made to these ladies to assist with their compensation.
Information from Zim Field Guide and other sources - may not be 100% accurate.