Act 1

A bogus astronomer Ecclitico tells his students that he created a telescope that allows to see the life of the inhabitants of the Moon. Actually, that’s a lie: he wants to trap a rich man Buonafede and get a nice dowry after the wedding with his daughter Clarice. Then, conveniently, appears Buonafede. He confesses that he’s passionate about the Moon and can only dream about a glimpse of its wonderful world. Through the telescope Ecclitico shows him fake scenes from the life on the Moon, which promise the naïve old man a joy and pleasures. Buonafede’s excited!

Meanwhile, Ecclitico is not the only one who has an interest in being in-law to the rich man. Ernesto is in love with Buonafede’s second daughter Flaminia, and his servant Cecco dreams of marrying her maid Lisetta. Together they agree to play a hoax on the old screw and thus arrange three marriages.

Clarice and Flaminia dream of escaping from parental guardianship and getting married. However, their father is not hastening to give his daughters in marriage and share money with two bridegrooms. Instead, he doesn’t mind having an affair with Lisetta.

Ecclitico appears. He comes to say goodbye to Buonafede: with help of a «magic» elixir given to him by the «Emperor» of the Moon he’s going to move there. Buonafede begs Ecclitico to take him out. Ecclitico willingly shares the elixir, which turns to be a sedative, with him. Falling asleep, Buonafede imagines how he and the astronomer will fly straight to the Moon through the clouds and stars.

Clarice, Flaminia and Lisette appear. They think their dear father and master is dead. Ernesto tries to calm them down. The young man pulls out Buonafede’s will and everyone corrects it as it pleases.

Act 2

Friends draw up their roles: Cecco appears disguised as the Emperor of the Moon, Ernesto becomes his servant Hesperus.

Buonafede wakes up. Looking around the «Moon» he is somewhat disappointed. The Emperor and his servant enter, they convince Buonafede to perceive the surroundings differently. Lisette appears, she believes that her master is dead. But she can see with her own eyes that he is alive and keeps trying to win her, promising ethereal and pure love on the Moon. However, the Emperor declares that he has chosen her as his wife and orders to prepare for the coronation of the new Empress.

Finally, Clarice and Flaminia arrive. Seeing that they’ve fallen in love, Buonafede decides not to disturb their happiness. He is enchanted by the Moon and feels very happy.

The coronation ceremony begins. Buonafede agrees to three marriages and promises a dowry. But as soon as the ceremony ends, the young people admit they’ve cheated on the old man. However, Buonafede wants nothing more than to enjoy lunar happiness: the Moon really made him kinder. He blesses the married couples.