During World War II, an Italian Captain named Antonio Corelli is put in command of a garrison that is occupying the Greek island of Cephallonia. When the Italians arrive on the unspoiled island, they think of it as a Greek vacation, the war a distant radio dispatch. At first the villagers resent these uninvited guests, but soon the Italians' charm and passion for life wear away differences of nationality and circumstance. After the fisherman fiance of local beauty Pelagia departs to fight with the Greek army, she falls in love with Corelli. As Corelli confronts the violent realities of warfare, he must imagine leaving Cephallonia and the woman he has come to love -- possibly forever.