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After many years absence, Lorenzo returns to his childhood home in Sicily. At 39, his life is motivated by his ambition to succeed in the scientific domain and he considers the crumbling old house a useless link to the past. Intending to repair and sell the house, and then return as quickly as possible to Milan, Lorenzo hires Salvatore, an elderly worker, and his two young helpers. He discovers they all live in a therapeutic community where a young doctor, Titto, deals, in an unconventional and creative way, with the psychological problems of about 20 young men and women. Among these is Salvatore's son. Having spent the last 20 years in the apparently orderly, rational world of science, Lorenzo finds himself more and more involved in the lives of the community members, whose unpredictable behaviour is both frightening and fascinating. As he observes Salvatore's simple philosophy of life and the young mentally ill, an awakening understanding of humanity - and the discovery that life is not controlled by rationality - helps Lorenzo to accept his own fragility and to live with some painful childhood memories.