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Journey to Italy (1954)

Viaggio in Italia (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 8 September 1954 (Italy)
1:48 | Trailer
An unhappily married couple attempts to find direction and insight while vacationing in Naples.


Roberto Rossellini


Vitaliano Brancati (story and screenplay), Roberto Rossellini (story and screenplay)
3 wins. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Ingrid Bergman ... Katherine Joyce
George Sanders ... Alex Joyce
Maria Mauban Maria Mauban ... Marie (as Marie Mauban)
Anna Proclemer ... La prostituta
Paul Muller ... Paul Dupont
Anthony La Penna Anthony La Penna ... Tony Burton (as Leslie Daniels)
Natalia Ray ... Natalie Burton (as Natalia Rai)
Jackie Frost Jackie Frost ... Betty


Married for eight years with no children, Brits Katherine and Alex Joyce are driving to Italy, their ultimate destination just outside of Naples to sell the villa they have just inherited from his uncle, the villa where they will be staying during their time there. On the drive, they come to the realization that this trip marks the first time that they have truly been alone together, and as such don't really know one another in the true sense. While in Italy, they end up mainly embarking on pursuits separate from each other - Katherine preferring the cultural, Alex preferring "company" including with some acquaintances they didn't know were in Naples until running into them on their first night in the city - and on the few occasions when they do spend time together, there is a tension and an underlying increasing want on both sides to hurt the other emotionally in their individual beliefs of what the other is thinking or has done in their time apart. As their marriage slowly falls ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Dramatic and Unusual Love Story!


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Included in the Toronto International Film Festival' Essential 100, movies every cinephile should see. See more »


During the religious procession, when the crane lifts the camera and camera pans up to view the crowd, you can see the shadow of the camera on the ground. See more »


[first lines]
Alex Joyce: Where are we?
Katherine Joyce: Oh, I don't know exactly.
See more »


Referenced in The Trip to Italy (2014) See more »

User Reviews

Fascinating Journey To Haunting Emotions and Desirable Reconciliations
7 August 2011 | by marcin_kukuczkaSee all my reviews

At the Cahiers Du Cinéma, Francois Truffaut, a great representative of the New Wave in France, proclaimed Roberto Rossellini's production "the first modern film." What he meant by "modern" at that time is, perhaps, of little relevance nowadays: the film is black and white; the film's producers and cast represent the classic symbols of the past period. Moreover, it seems that we can afford more spectacular journeys to Italy than the one introduced here. The miraculous Sorrento Coast has been photographed and filmed in many far more impressive technologies. Nevertheless, Truffaut's viewpoint occurs to be relevant to many modern fans of this old yet 'modern' film.

To understand that, we have to underline something significant in that respect: although VIAGGIO IN ITALIA does not belong to the Neorealist films of the time, it appears to inspire and manifest the seemingly best period for Italian cinema that Neorealist movement was. The film art meant to address simple people with what they really experience in life. Therefore, the theme that is being developed in VIAGGIO IN ITALIA is so down to earth. We can still feel similar empathy with the characters that the 1954 viewers felt. Empathy with whom?

Two people appear to be in the lead, a married couple played by great cinema stars of the time: Ingrid Bergman (Rossellini's wife) and George Sanders. Although Ingrid Bergman was cast by Roberto Rossellini in more of his "Italian series" (e.g. STROMBOLI LA TERRA DI DIO), she is exceptional here. We get to see the couple in media res on their road (mind you the deliberate image of the road at the beginning) and gradually get to know them authentically through what they say and through what they do. Catherine (Ms Bergman) and Alex (Mr Sanders) experience the crisis of their marriage...although they are a couple, two people who should naturally love each other, they are as if strangers and feel like ones; although they are meant to be similar, they differ considerably. And there is one little step towards making this film an anti-marriage conclusion. Yet, Rossellini chooses something more demanding by listening to Italy's stones of history which seem to speak to us now. A woman and a man...having the same destination, will their ways face bitter separation?

Ingrid Bergman convincingly portrays a woman of sophisticated tastes, of intellect and feelings. Her character is the one to be liked and empathized with, particularly at the scene when she talks of her former love, a poet Charles. He is dead...yet, he seems to be alive in her, she follows his traces, she experiences the haunting whispers of the past. It is memorably executed in the overwhelming scene when she visits the museum of Naples. What a shot! We see Ingrid, a great beauty, walking among the grandiose sculptures, among the men of 2,000 years ago, people of the past who appear to be so much like the people of today. I think that this conclusion of hers which she shares with Alex is, as if, the quintessential message of the film. Although times change, people's desires and certain values are universal and timeless. We can say that Catherine is constantly haunted by her own past and by the past strictly linked to the places she visits...the echo of voices, the coldness of the catacombs, the might and power of the volcanoes, the chaos of the streets of Naples and the excavations at Pompeii. She dreams of a good life, an independent life, easy going life (the maxim 'how sweet it is to do nothing' makes some sense, at least an amusing sense for her); yet, the moments she sees mothers with babies in the streets fill her with unique nostalgia.

Alex is different....he does not find Italy very charming because of his practical, cold, unemotional view on life. He is a hypocrite-like master who has never seen 'noise and boredom go so well together.' He is bored and boring himself. He leaves because he has nothing to do...he has nothing to say and the stories about a dreamer, a poet make him both jealous and sarcastic. Yet, the experience with a chick he dates in idyllic Capri opens his eyes a bit and he changes within. He is strict and hilarious, particularly at the moment he searches for a glass of mineral water.... Work and duty that mean so much for him not necessarily mean much to Catherine...yet, does it mean that they have to be apart? His dominant role of a man is excellently directed towards the background and his egocentric desires are well crafted and manipulated both in the performance and the direction. Rossellini highlights Catherine more as the woman who goes through inner trouble but enlightens a lot within her inner self and in others. I wish the ending were more developed and not so condensed in the climactic idea of the movie...But the camera-work in the finale really escapes from the Hollywood cliché and it does deliberately and successfully so.

What does VIAGGIO IN ITALIA offer us? Good sense of humor with a bit of sentimentality, lovely views of Italian miracles, great performances of two celebrities among simple people, and the combination of the past and the present. It would be a lovely discovery to say that this film may be liked both by Americans and Europeans....because it is no chronology, no storyline, just a terrific combination of the past that haunts us and educates us, the present that follows us and influences us and the future that is the mother of the two and the mother of none alike. An old film with an ever 'modern' content.

The first shot of the film is the very first impression that highlights their way(s) which appear(s) to lead us to a certain moment...the final shot of the film is the last conclusion that focuses on people walking the paths of history with their own desires, with their own decisions.

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Italy | France


English | Italian

Release Date:

8 September 1954 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Strangers See more »

Filming Locations:

Naples, Campania, Italy See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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