In this bittersweet coming-of-age comedy, seven-year-old Piero (Matteo Campus) lives in Livorno, a city along the coast of Tuscany, in a low-rent shantytown the locals call Ovosodo (which literally translates as hard boiled eggs).
Piero is forced to grow up at an early age after the death of his mother, leaving his father to raise him and his mentally challenged brother on his own.
As Piero turns 13 (now played by Malcolm Lunghi), his dad -- a second rate criminal with no gift for staying out of jail -- complicates matters by bringing his new (and pregnant) girlfriend Mara (Monica Brachini) to live with the family.
Despite his difficult childhood, Piero is a bright boy, and he is encouraged to pursue greater educational opportunities by Giovanna (Nicoletta Braschi), a widow who teaches at his school.
Piero gains a friend at his new school, Tommaso (Marco Cocci), a rich but troubled boy, and a few years, later the 18-year-old Piero (Edoardo Gabbriellini) finds love with a girl named Lisa, though sadly it's not destined to last. Ovosodo won the Special Jury Prize at the 1997 Venice Film Festival.