Margie Krebsbach hopes that a trip to Rome will inspire her husband Carl to make love to her. He's been sleeping across the hall and she has no idea why. That's her real reason for the trip, but she finds a patriotic purpose as well: a Lake Wobegon boy died in the liberation of the city in 1944, and his grave is in a neglected weed patch near the Coliseum. So it's decided they will go to clean Gussy Norlander's final resting place. What begins as a trip for two turns into a modern-day Canterbury Tales as more Wobegonians decide to go alone - including Margie's nemesis, the mayor, Carl's bossy sister Eloise; her treacherous mother-in-law; and Mr. Berge, the town drunk. She gets the motley crew to the airport and aboard the plane, then discovers one of the secret pleasures of travel: away from home.