Down from the hills of Florence, in the tiny community of Santa Maria a Coverciano, the sisters Materassi had restored their lands, their name and their fortune through their exquisite, sought-after embroidery and sewing and had earned the respectful admiration of their neighbors. But when they inherited an orphaned nephew the pattern was ruined and all the threads tangled, for Remo, virile and politely vicious, self-seeking and selfish, quickly learned to cajole them to his desires -- fashionable living, fast cars and women. From their proud position to poverty and scorn, the way was long but uninterrupted as Remo blithely stripped them of their wealth, their social standing and their customers. Gracefully but indomitably he made them accept his marriage to a sports loving American heiress and left them with only memories and photographs. The tempo and feel of the Italian countryside, the manners and mores of an almost isolated people and the changing years after 1918 are volubly commented on and myopically scrutinized. An importation which might suffer sea change.