A 15-year-old provincial girl moves to Rome and finds her new private school is a microcosm of the cultural and political divisions of Italian society. When her parents, Giancarlo and Agata, move from a seaside town in Tuscany to an ailing aunt's apartment in the big city, Caterina is ready for something new.
Dad, a teacher in a tech school, has undisguised social ambitions and is delighted to see a list of famous last names attending his old alma mater, where Caterina will also be going. Her class is split between revolutionary no-globals and rich kids who parrot their parents' conservative ideas.
Both sides try to bring the new girl into their sphere of influence.
She's first drawn to Margherita, a mercurial hippie princess and soon falls in with the flighty Daniela and her circle of rich, cell phone totting mall-rats. As her parent's marriage disintegrates in the face of her father's social frustrations, Catherina finds comfort in her extended family and hope for the future in a budding romance (and perhaps the prospect of emigration someday) with a boy from Australia.