Two brothers come of age in the 1960s in a town south of Rome. Manrico is handsome, sometimes feckless, a leftist making the revolution. His younger brother Accio ("Bully") is a seminarian when the story beings, soon home studying Latin and joining the Fascists. Francesca, an aristocratic student, becomes Manrico's lover and Accio's friend. Over the next ten years, these three experience family, love, attraction, politics, and the challenges of adult responsibility. Subplots include Nastri, a father figure and political guide to Accio, Nastri's wife Bella who guides Accio in other ways, and the brothers' parents and sister, who are dazzled by Manrico's charm while depending on Accio.