Newlyweds Lilia and Gino are settling into the new home they just bought in Monteriano—a pretty stone house surrounded by olive trees and vineyards. We totally wouldn't mind being invited as houseguests.
Initially, Lilia seems to be the one wearing the pants in the household. She doesn't want Gino's family to move in with them (even though there's plenty of space in the house), and Gino complies. When Lilia writes home to Mrs. Herriton, a reply from Harriet states that from now on Lilia can only contact the family through lawyers. Harriet also requests Lilia to return the inlaid box that had been lent, not given, to her.
Gino grows increasingly bored and idle since he no longer has to work for a living (Lilia has enough money to support both of them). Meanwhile, Lilia gets it into her head that she wants to host a tea party and invite the important members of society in Monteriano. But Gino's friends are mostly all lower-class workingmen. Gino also tells her that in Italy, women aren't allowed to take walks alone without someone accompanying her. Lilia starts realizing that for a woman, life in Italy is way different than in England.
One day, Gino runs into Spiridione Tesi, an old friend who had heard of Gino's marriage and traveled from Chiasso to visit him. They spend a delightful afternoon drinking vermouth, reminiscing on old times, and talking about Gino's new wife. Gino invites Spiridione home to meet Lilia, and the evening passes merrily with good food and plenty of music.