In the home of her stepfather, Don Magnifico, Angelina (known as Cinderella) works while her two stepsisters, Clorinda and Tisbe, admire themselves. A beggar arrives at the door and while the stepsisters spurn him, Cinderella offers him food and drink. The beggar is actually the court astronomer and tutor to the prince, Alidoro, in disguise and on a secret mission to help the prince find a worthy bride.
Prince Ramiro himself arrives but also in disguise as his own valet. He is immediately taken with Cinderella and tells the family that the Prince will arrive shortly to make an important announcement. Ramiro's valet Dandini arrives with the palace courtiers and presents himself as the Prince. Deceived by this reversal of roles, Don Magnifico presents Clorinda and Tisbe to Dandini who tells them he will be hosting a ball in order to select a bride. He invites all of the eligible young women in the house to his palace. Don Magnifico dismisses Cinderella’s request to attend the ball and together with Clorinda and Tisbe leaves for the palace. Alidoro returns, removes his disguise, and provides the astonished Cinderella with a gown and a carriage.
At the royal palace Prince Ramiro and Dandini, still disguised as each other, entertain Don Magnifico who is now appointed Royal Wine Steward. Dandini tells Clorinda and Tisbe that he can marry only one of them but the other may marry his valet, an offer that neither sister finds palatable. The arrival of a beautiful woman – who bears an amazing resemblance to Cinderella – heightens everyone's anxiety.
Don Magnifico and his daughters discuss the mysterious woman at the ball. Prince Ramiro hides when Cenerentola rushes in pursued by Dandini (still disguised as the Prince). Dandini professes his love for her but Cenerentola confesses to loving his valet. Ramiro emerges and asks her to marry him. She gives him one of her matching bracelets and tells him to search for the woman wearing its companion; if he still wishes to marry her when he discovers her true identity, she will agree to marry. Upon this she rushes out of the palace. Ramiro and Dandini assume their true identities and an outraged Don Magnifico returns home with Clorinda and Tisbe.
Cinderella is tending to the fireplace when her stepsisters and Don Magnifico dejectedly return from the ball. The prince is in search of Cenerentola when a fortuitous storm waylays his carriage outside Don Magnifico's house. Ramiro and Dandini take shelter inside, and Ramiro immediately recognizes his beloved. Cinderella is surprised to learn that Ramiro, whom she believed to be the valet, is in fact the prince.
Prince Ramiro recognizes the bracelet that Cinderella is wearing and chooses her for his bride, denouncing Don Magnifico and the stepsisters for their ill treatment of her. Cinderella pardons her stepfather and stepsisters and asks for reconciliation. All hail her goodness and majesty.