In the spring of 1860, Italy's movement for unification reaches its peak as Garibaldi's Redshirts invade Sicily and crush the Bourbon monarchy. Plebiscites are set up in which Sicilians vote in favor of joining the rest of the peninsula in forming the United Kingdom of Italy. Most strongly affected by the political upheaval is Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina, who realizes that the inevitable change will mean the end of the privileged class. Aware that he must endure certain changes to preserve vestiges of the dying aristocracy, he accepts the rising middle class. Consequently, when his favorite nephew, Tancredi, falls in love with Angelica Sedara, the daughter of a wealthy bourgeois, Don Fabrizio resolves to support the match, despite the fact that Concetta, one of his three daughters, loves Tancredi. To restore wealth to the Fabrizio family and provide dowries for his other daughters, Don Fabrizio arranges for Concetta to marry Angelica's wealthy tradesman father, Don Calogero Sedara. He refuses, however, to take a senate seat in the newly-formed government, explaining that he is a man caught between the old and the new, and ill at ease in both. Tancredi introduces Angelica to Sicilian society at a lavish ball. After watching the ambitious girl relax in this new life of luxury and beauty, Don Fabrizio leaves the ball and strolls quietly in the gathering dawn--a proud but lonely figure in a changing world.