Giuseppe Garibaldi is Italy’s national hero, this is his most famous military campaign, the 1860 Expedition of the Thousand, in which he liberated the south of Italy from the Bourbons. It became the defining moment in the entire history of Italy, leading to the unification of the country. The film follow him conquering Sicily and Naples. When the Bourbon monarchy has left Southern Italy, he supports Victor Emmanuel II of Italy who achieves a lasting unification under the aegis of the House of Savoy.
Of all my films, I’m proudest of ‘Viva L’Italia!’. I consider it important as a work of research, the most carefully done of all my films. It is a documentary made after the event, trying to figure out what happened. I tried to place myself in front of the events of a century ago, the way a documentarist would have done who had the good fortune to follow Garibaldi’s campaign with his camera – Roberto Rossellini