Sicily 18th century, Marianna Ucria is a 12-year-old deaf-mute from an aristocratic family of Palermo. Aged 13, she is married to a middle-aged uncle, Duca Pietro. She is repulsed by him, but at 16 years she already gives him three daughters. During her 20s she is instructed by a French tutor, which teaches her philosophy and all the new ideas that tour around Europe. She also has to manage, after Pietro's death, a relationship with her servant's brother (and following scandal). In her mature age she finally discovers and understands the terrible secret behind his handicap.