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While performing a song during a television broadcast, famous Italian-American tenor Marc Revere sees his fiancée, wealthy socialite Carol Ralston, in the control booth standing next to a man whose arm is draped around her shoulders. After finishing the song, Marc jealously storms into the booth and berates Carol, who then informs him that she is leaving for Europe the next day. Marc follows Carol to Europe and is on a train bound for Rome when he meets an attractive young Italian woman from Savona, Raffaella Marini, who slips and loses her purse as she boards the moving train. When Marc overhears the conductor threaten to throw her off at the next stop, he offers to pay her way to Rome. Raffaella then tells Marc that she plans to get a job in Rome and stay with her uncle. However, when they reach Rome, they discover that her uncle has gone to Argentina and Marc insists that she come with him to meet his cousin, Pepe Bonelli, a jovial pianist who lives in a bohemian garret. Pepe throws a party that night at which Raffaella, who is falling in love with Marc, is disappointed when he asks another woman to dance. As the party ends the next day, one of the guests takes Marc, Pepe and Raffaella on a helicopter ride over Rome and its surrounding sights. The next day, Pepe and Marc awaken to find that Raffaella has shoplifted some food for them, although she intends to repay all the shopkeepers. When the landlady demands 40,000 lire in back rent by the next day, Marc decides to earn some money by performing at the Ulpia, one of Rome's best nightclubs. After Raffaella says she will also look for a job, Pepe invites her to come to Signora Beatrice's fashion salon where he is playing for a fashion show, and offers to speak with Beatrice about hiring her. Pepe is touched when Raffaella kisses him on the cheek and says he is a kind man. At the fashion show, Beatrice, aware of Marc's celebrity, mentions that Carol left for Capri three weeks ago but plans to return to Rome shortly. Although Raffaella is hired by Beatrice to work as an assistant, Marc is turned down for a job at the Ulpia because the owner has never heard of him. At the next club, the Tivoli, an American owner tells him that Italy exports, not imports, singers, as tenors are one of its greatest resources. That night, he and Raffaella meet Pepe at a cinema in Trastevere, where Pepe plays for "amateur nights." After Marc is pushed onto the stage to perform, he wins the competition and is signed to sing nightly at 4,000 lire a night. Following a performance one night, Marc brings a friend and two American women back to Pepe's room where he unconsciously treats Raffaella like a servant, then leaves with his guests without eating the meal she has prepared. When Pepe later rebukes him for hurting Raffaella, Marc is surprised to learn that she has romantic feelings for him. One day, as Pepe is about to propose to Raffaella, Marc interrupts them with news that he has just received an offer from the Ulpia and wants Pepe to be his accompanist. As Marc rehearses an aria with Pepe, he is drowned out by rock-and-roll coming from a party outside. When the partygoers learn that he is an American, Marc, to their enjoyment, imitates Italian-American singers Perry Como, Frankie Laine and Dean Martin, and then Louis Armstrong, who, he says, does not need to be Italian. On the afternoon before his debut at the Ulpia, Marc runs into Carol. They both apologize for the scene in New York, and she invites him to a yacht party, assuring him they could get back before his opening. However, when the yacht's engine develops problems, they are unable to return until the next morning. As Raffaella is berating Marc for his selfishness and for treating her like a child, Pepe, who has lost the Ulpia job because of Marc, overhears her assert that Marc is "not good enough to be Pepe's accompanist." After Marc departs, Raffaella cries and Pepe comforts her, but refrains from embracing her. Later, as she is putting away some dresses at work, she finds a diamond bracelet and locks it in a cabinet. That night, Marc arrives ten minutes late for a date with Carol and finds that she has gone to the Ulpia without him. When he finds Carol there dancing with an Italian man, Marc angrily twists this man's nose, thus inciting a brawl that ends with Marc being ordered to pay over one million lire for damages to the club. Pepe pleads with Beatrice for a loan, but she refuses, saying she dislikes tenors, having fallen in love with one once. Just then, an American woman, Mrs. Stone, comes looking for the diamond bracelet she has lost, and Raffaella claims she has not seen it. Carol apologizes to Marc and offers to write a check for the damages, but he refuses to accept her offer. Raffaella then brings Marc the bracelet, saying she now can repay him for helping her. When he demands to know where she got it, she begins to cry, and Pepe slaps Marc. Realizing that the bracelet belongs to Mrs. Stone, Pepe promises that Raffaella will return it. Afterward, Marc goes to the Ulpia and agrees to work for two weeks at half-price to pay the damages, if they will hire Pepe at full scale. He then asks Raffaella to convince Pepe to accept the job. As they dress for opening night, Marc and Pepe avoid speaking to each other until their eyes meet and they embrace. After the show, Raffaella sees Marc kiss Carol and tells Pepe that she has decided to leave Rome. When Pepe informs Marc, he explains he was just saying goodbye to Carol, because they have realized that their affair will never work. After Pepe tells Marc that Raffaella has always loved him, Marc runs after her. As they embrace, Pepe sees them from the balcony of the club, and they wave at Pepe as they walk together toward the ruins of Rome.