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Journey to Italy (1954)

Viaggio in Italia (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 20 December 1954 (France)
An unhappily married couple attempts to find direction and insight while vacationing in Naples.



(story and screenplay), (story and screenplay)

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


Catherine and Alexander, wealthy and sophisticated, drive to Naples to dispose of a deceased uncle's villa. There's a coolness in their relationship and aspects of Naples add to the strain. She remembers a poet who loved her and died in the war; although she didn't love him, the memory underscores romance's absence from her life now. She tours the museums of Naples and Pompeii, immersing herself in the Neapolitan fascination with the dead and noticing how many women are pregnant; he idles on Capri, flirting with women but drawing back from adultery. With her, he's sarcastic; with him, she's critical. They talk of divorce. Will this foreign couple find insight and direction in Italy? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Dramatic and Unusual Love Story!


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

20 December 1954 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Journey to Italy  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The hotel they stayed in in Naples was also used in one episode of the Sopranos. See more »


After deciding to leave Pompeii, and walking down the stairs for the exit, the arm and shoulder of a crew member appear in the lower right side of the screen. See more »


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


Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Fatale beauté (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating Journey To Haunting Emotions and Desirable Reconciliations
7 August 2011 | by See 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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