The authoress analyses two Italian costume dramas produced in the 1930s, in the context of Mussolini's regime. Both the '1860' (Alessandro Blasetti, 1933), and the 'Scipione l'Africano' (Carmine Gallone, 1937) using historical costume, promoted more or less openly the main arguments of the official propaganda. The ideological basis of the storyline of the '1860' is based on work by Giovanni Gentile, a leading theoretician of fascism of the time, according to whom Mussolini's rule were the final element of the period of Risorgimento. Whereas 'Scipione l'Africano' relies on the ancient Roman myth in order to promote the cult of the leader (ducismo). Both films are examples of how national identity was shaped in the country, which at the time was only seventy years old.