The main setting and several important characters are different in the book and movie.
The movie changed the ending of the story in terms of who Lina ends up with.
Lina's mom always planned for her to go to Italy alone.
In the movie, Lina and her mother Hadley planned to go to Italy together after Lina's graduation.
This makes it even more emotional for Lina to have to go by herself after her mother's death. But in the book, Hadley always planned for her daughter to go alone.
Hadley wanted Lina to stay with her former love Howard after she died so that Lina wouldn't be grieving alone. And she wanted her to experience Italy the way she did, as a teenager exploring Florence on her own.
The bulk of the book takes place in Florence, not Rome.
In the book, Lina goes to stay with Howard in the Tuscany region because her mother studied abroad in Florence.
Much of the plot takes place in the city as Lina visits the places her mom mentioned in her diary.
The movie changed the primary setting to Rome, and Lina only takes a brief trip to Florence to try to find her father.
Lina stays with Howard at a cemetery, not with Francesca.
Lina stays with Hadley's friend Francesca in a stunning home throughout the movie.
But Lina originally didn't even know who Francesca was in the book, and instead stayed with Howard.
Since Howard is a caretaker of a war-memorial cemetery in the book, that's where Lina stayed during her trip.
The character who gives Lina the journal isn't even in the movie.
Howard runs the cemetery with another employee, Sonia, who's not in the movie at all.
She has an extremely important role in the book though, as Sonia is the one who gives Lina her mother's journal.
Addie is a far more supportive friend in the book.
Lina lives with Addie for a bit in the book, but Lina's grandmother encourages her to go to Italy for the summer as her mom wanted.
Once Lina finds out she's staying in a cemetery, Addie immediately tries to convince her family and Lina's grandmother to let Lina come home.
Any time the friends talk on the phone, Addie listens to her concerns and offers the opportunity for Lina to come back home if she needs to, which is very different from her constant interference and refusal to hear Lina out in the movie.
Lorenzo and Howard don't meet each other until Lina arrives in Italy.
Howard is a close family friend and mentor to Lorenzo in the movie.
But in the book, Lina meets Lorenzo while she's on a run, and he doesn't know Howard.
Lorenzo ends up terrified of Howard, who is overly protective of Lina the first time they talk.
Alessandro isn't in the book at all.
Lina does go out with a handsome, rich boy in the book, but his name is Thomas.
Thomas is a British boy she meets at a party that she barely sees throughout the summer. And there are no dramatic plotlines about Thomas and his father.
Lina spends far more time with Lorenzo and certainly doesn't agree to be exclusive with Thomas, as she does with Ale.
Lina is the one who tells Lorenzo about the secret bakeries in Italy.
Lina finds out about the network of secret bakeries in Florence through her mother's journal.
She tells Lorenzo about this, and it's the first time he's ever heard of such a thing.
In the movie though, Lorenzo shows Lina a secret bakery, which makes sense since Lorenzo is also an aspiring chef in the movie.
Lorenzo's girlfriend has more valid reasons to be angry with Lina.
In the movie, Lorenzo's girlfriend, Giorgia, is immediately rude to Lina without any real cause.
But Lina and Giorgia have actual confrontations throughout the book.
Lina brags about Lorenzo spending time with her instead of returning his girlfriend's calls, which causes a massive fight between the couple.
Howard has no idea that Lina is looking for her father.
Howard is a key part of Lina finding her father in the movie since he gives her his name after she mistakes him for her father.
But in the book, Howard doesn't play a part in Lina finding her father. She's able to look up details from her mother's journal and talk to people from the school her mother attended.
When Lina finally tells Howard about this, she's already learned who her father is and met him.
Lorenzo isn't an aspiring chef.
Lorenzo's culinary school ambitions are a big part of the movie.
None of this is a part of the book though, as Lorenzo is instead a skilled soccer player.
He's also already with Lina when she finds out her father's name and purposefully goes with her to meet him.
Lina visits famous tourist destinations that her mother liked.
Throughout the book, Lina checks out different destinations that Hadley loved, from visiting bridges and statues to going to a popular club.
Her mother's journal becomes a list of places for her and Lorenzo to visit together, and doing so helps Lina feel close to her mother and fall in love with Florence.
The movie only offhandedly includes some of the same tourist attractions.
Lina and her father actually have a conversation.
When Lina finally finds out who her father is in the movie, she goes to his gallery, runs into his office, and storms out without ever actually speaking to him.
The two have a conversation in the book, but it goes terribly.
Her father lies and says that Lina's mother made up their relationship, lied in the journal, and got him fired because she was an unbalanced stalker.
Everything he says is cruel and clearly false, as the relationship between him and Lina's mother was confirmed by other students who went to school with Hadley.
Addie never goes to Italy.
Addie calls Lina frequently throughout the book and is there for her whenever she needs to vent about her mother's journal or pick out an outfit for a party.
But she never actually visits Lina in Italy like she does in the movie.
Lina and Lorenzo are officially together by the end of the book.
Lorenzo and Lina spend a full year apart from each other and happen to run back into each other at the end of the movie.
The book instead ends with Lina deciding to spend her last year of school in Italy while dating Lorenzo.
Compare the "Love & Gelato" Netflix adaptation and book even further by reading the novel:
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