Journey to Italy (1954)

This devastating study of a marriage coming apart during a holiday in Italy is the best known of the films Roberto Rossellini made with his wife Ingrid Bergman.

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Film details

Alternative titles

  • Viaggio in Italia Original Italian
  • Voyage in Italy Alternative
  • Voyage en Italie Alternative French
  • L' Amour est le plus fort Alternative French
  • Strangers Alternative
  • The Lonely Woman Alternative
  • Voyage to Italy Alternative


“We don’t feel actors here, even if we never entirely forget we’re watching Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders, because we sense we’re piercing through the actor, the shell, the hyperpersonality.”

Tag Gallagher, The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini, 1998

With a cycle of projects starring his wife Ingrid Bergman, Roberto Rossellini began to lose some of the critics whose attention he had grabbed with Rome: Open City (1945). Moving away from the neo-realist movement’s unflinching depiction of post-war social realities, he was beginning to chart the emotional relationships between his characters.

Katherine and Alexander Joyce (Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders) are an English couple holidaying in Naples whose marriage starts to fracture under the strains of mutual boredom and resentment. The striking looseness of Rossellini’s storytelling suggests the subjective textures of life, encompassing periods of dead time that anticipate the modernist art films of Michelangelo Antonioni. The breakthrough was barely recognised at the time.

Rossellini’s film is the model for Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris (1963), another tale of marital fissures deepening during a couple’s stay in Italy.

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