Fernando, a boy growing up in 1920's Italy, is inspired by reading a biography of Saint Anthony of Padua (after whom the city of San Antonio, Texas is named.) The wife of a young Roman painter who disappeared at the end of WWI goes to church with her son Fernando to pray to Saint Anthony for his return. After some time, the painter actually does return. Due to a head wound, he had lost his memory and recovered it on the same day his wife had invoked St. Anthony. The family visits St. Anthony's Basilica and purchases a book dedicated to Saint Anthony. The reading recalls the scenes and images in the life of the saint. The story is told entirely in flashbacks, as the adult Fernando recalls scenes from his childhood and, in turn, scenes from the life of the Saint.