Luca is the name of Pixar’s new movie released in June 2021.

It has created quite a buzz in Italy because it is set in Liguria’s picturesque coastline!

Does Luca really represent the Italian Riviera?

This is a legitimate question, as animated fantasy movies often exaggerate or reinterpret real-life scenarios.

Continue reading to find out the truth without any worries: there are no spoiler alerts related to the movie’s plot!

Luca is set in Portorosso: this is a fictional town.

But the name sounds suspiciously like that of Monterosso, one of the five villages that compose the Cinque Terre.

And when looking at the gorgeous landscapes with vibrant colors that appear in the movie, it is quite clear that this stretch of the Italian Riviera is the source of inspiration!

Manarola Cinque Terre fishing village

After all, Disney Pixar’s movie was directed by Italian storyboard artist and film director Enrico Casarosa, who comes from Genoa, Liguria’s capital and main port city.

Back in 2012, he was nominated for an Academy Award for the animated short film La Luna.

In an interview, when asked where Luca takes place and why, Casarosa explained that the movie was inspired by his own summer childhood on the Italian Riviera.

He described it as follows:

The coast is unique because it is very steep: the mountains come out of the sea. Cities are frozen in time: they are truly picturesque. I have always imagined them as little monsters that come out of the water“.

And, as you can tell from the official poster of Luca, sea monsters are the protagonists of the movie.

In fact, Luca and his friend Alberto are aquatic creatures that come from a world at the bottom of the sea.

On the surface, they acquire a human aspect, but contact with water is enough to show their true appearance.

But no matter how they look, Luca and Alberto are always children who want to have fun, learn, and make friends. In its own carefree and moving way, the movie uses this ‘diversity’ to tackle the issues of inclusion and discrimination.

Luca's movie Cinque Terre

When watching the movie, you will notice children that play barefoot in the square of Portorosso.

Your first reaction will probably be that this is an overly stereotypical film.

But bear in mind that Luca is set between the end of the 1950s and early 1960s. At the time, the Cinque Terre were still unknown to tourists, and the local lifestyle was truly different.

When this part of the Italian Riviera exploded as a tourist destination – combined with the comforts of modern-day life – some things remained as a nostalgic memory.

Children still play soccer around the villages, but most probably with shoes on and not in the main square.

Other aspects of Italian lifestyle that are truthfully portrayed in Luca, are the love for gelato and trenette al pesto (although Liguria’s cuisine is a lot more varied than that!).

When visiting Cinque Terre, you will also notice that fishing is important for the livelihood of many locals, and that the elders are often playing cards or muttering to each other!

Come visit the Italian Riviera and see the places that appear in Luca

We believe that the Cinque Terre destination does not need notoriety, but respect in terms of Slow Travel and Heritage Tourism.

At BeautifuLiguria we are proud that Disney Pixar chose the Italian Riviera as the setting for Luca, and that the movie’s theme revolves around respect, diversity, and the nostalgic past that the locals treasure. 

Our effort is to make you discover Cinque Terre and in general the Italian Riviera, in the most sustainable and authentic way.

Check our trips and experiences lovingly crafted by real locals. We love the territory where we live and have selected for you the best of the best.

Contact us and we will be happy to help you to plan the perfect trip for you


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