Despite the fact that she has lived in Rome for some three years, Mary Chamberlin is convinced that she does not really live there, that only Italians do. Her droll, wry probe into the Latin psyche is an inside job however, as she becomes involved in a protracted case of bella or bruta figura during a duel between the landlady and her servant, or implicated in one of her three case histories of amore. She tells of one sortie out of the country to Yugoslavia in which she found the resignation of the people to tyranny angered and shocked her as much as the tyranny itself. But her encounter with loro --""them"" -- the Italians, is her central theme, whether it be the view of a farm family apologizing to the horse they tethered while they went on a Sunday outing, participation in the arrest of a bad check writer (meaning much to do and ado about police), or in more sombre vein, the visit to the cemetery to pay last respects to her landlady. The author has an anecdotal flair and with the seasoned eye of a foreign-familiar presents a new view of the eternal city.