An Italian priest has been accused of pimping some of his 15 suspected lovers and filming orgies in his church's rectory.

Father Andrea Contin, 48, the parish priest at the church of San Lazzaro in Padua, is under police investigation for living off immoral earnings and psychological violence, following complaints from three female parishioners.

Sex toys and pornographic home videos, some bearing the names on popes on the covers, were seized in police raids, according to local media reports.

He is alleged to have pimped some of his lovers to men on wife-swapping websites, as well as enjoying lavish holidays with lovers, travelling to countries including Croatia, France and Austria.

Among the places he allegedly visited with lovers was the Cap d'Agde naturists and swingers resort in France, according Corriere del Veneto.

Complaints were first made to a local bishop last summer, but church authorities failed to contact police.

One of the priest's alleged former lovers told the Il Mattino di Padova newspaper in an anonymous interview that Contin had pursued her with messages and phone calls before they had sex.

"It happened in the rectory and in different houses... but I say no more because there are investigations. When? At all hours: Morning, afternoon, night. Always," said the 49-year old woman when asked where their trysts took place.