Once upon a time an old woman discovers a baby in her cabbage patch. She brings up the child and, when she dies, the boy, Toto, enters an orphanage. Toto leaves the orphanage a happy young man, and looks for work in post-war Milan. He ends up with the homeless and organizes them to build a shanty town in a vacant lot. The squatters discover oil in the land and Toto sees a vision of the old woman who gives him a magic dove that will grant him anything he wishes.