In this family saga that begins in 1934, we meet Willa Carver, a headstrong young American woman who is passionately committed to learning how to paint in Europe. She dismisses several marriage proposals and defies her parents’ wishes, choosing instead to attend art classes in Florence. But a fateful encounter on an Italian train with a wounded, pro-Mussolini army officer named Gabriele Marcheschi changes all that. Willa marries Gabriele and commits herself to a farmer’s life in Orvieto. Her daughter, Fina, must live with the consequences of her mother's hasty choices, and later make some momentous decisions of her own.