La Casa Di Dio: Italian Memories in Wales
After the Italian surrender in North Africa, 1,500 Prisoners of War were shipped to POW Camp 70, in Henllan, near Newcastle Emlyn.
La Casa di Dio, meaning the House of God, tells the tale of their incarceration, but also of the unlikely relic built within the prison walls by the Italian inhabitants.
Far from home, the prisoners vacated one of the plasterboard huts where they slept, and built a church. Utilizing unlikely ingredients, including carrots, tea, coffee and tobacco for paint as well as old bully beef tins and borrowed cement, they fashioned a church.
One of the most striking aspects of this building is the dome and a fresco of The Last Supper painted by artist Mario Ferlito. It was a privilege to interview Mario at his home in Ornavasso before his death a few years later in May 2009.
We shall hear the history of prisoner Toni Vasami recited by his son Gino, who is now a local farmer and owner of La Calabria near Llandysul. Toni Sarracini from Newcastle Emlyn will be discussing his father Angelo who was also a prisoner at POW Camp 70.
Many additional voices will contribute to the story, including Jon Meirion Jones, a local historian and author of a book detailing the history of this amazing church. We will also hear the experiences of Glenys Anthony, the only female to work at the camp, and Bob Thomson who cared for the church since 1960.
Come and lose yourself in this small but amazing part of the Italians in Wales' history.