The complicated travails of several generations of Italian women provide the basis for this drama that is based on a novel by Susanna Tamaro. It begins with the peaceful death of Olga, the elderly family matriarch. Marta, her granddaughter returns from the US to attend the funeral and once in Olga's villa in Trieste, begins reading her grandmother's diary. Olga's story unfolds via flashback. As a young woman, Oldga had to marry Antonio a man she didn't love. Later she became passionately involved with a handsome doctor at the local spa. He impregnates her and shortly thereafter dies in a terrible car wreck. The result of their love is Illaria, who grows up to be terribly neurotic. She bears Marta and then she too dies in an automobile accident, leaving Marta to be raised by Olga.