On June 18th 2021, Disney Pixar released its most recent movie Luca, a sweet “coming of age” story that takes place on the Italian Riviera. It tells the tale of Luca Paguro, a sea monster boy who is able to transform into a human on land. Accompanied by his best friend Alberto Scorfano, they explore the town of Portorosso, eating gelato, scoffing down pasta and taking wild rides on Vespa scooters. Both the town and the story were inspired by director Enrico Casarosa’s own summertime adventures in Genova as a boy.
To add to the film’s authenticity, the writers made a point to include a number of lines spoken in Italian. If you are curious to find out what the characters are saying, look no further: we’ve got you covered!
What does Luca mean?
Luca is simply the Italian equivalent of the English name Luke. It comes from the Latin lux meaning light. Another less common variation on the name is Luchino.
What does Portorosso mean?
Portorosso is the name of the fictional town in which the story is based. It is the combination of two words: porto (meaning ‘port‘ or ‘harbour‘) and rosso (meaning ‘red‘), so the literal translation would be ‘red port‘ or ‘red harbour‘.
What does “Silenzio Bruno!” mean in Italian?
Silenzio is the word for silent in Italian, but when used as an interjection, it means Be quiet!, Shut up! or Hush!
In this particular scene, Alberto tells Luca that he has a “Bruno” in his head, or in other words, a nagging voice that tells him he isn’t capable or allowed to do something. Alberto tells Luca to shout out “Silenzio Bruno!” (Shut up, Bruno!) whenever he hears that voice.
Italian Words, Phrases and Expressions in ‘Luca’
Here is a line-by-line summary of all the Italian words, phrases and expressions that appear throughout Luca. Below we’ve also included a summary of all the most important expressions in alphabetical order. See if you can pick them out while watching the film!
Fisherman #2: Non preoccuparti, Giacomo! (Don’t worry, Giacomo!)
Fisherman #1: Ah, what is that?
Fisherman #2: Ah, per mille sardine! (lit. For a thousand sardines! = Oh my goodness!)
Alberto: Not bad kid. Alberto Scorfano.
Luca: Luca Paguro.
Alberto: Piacere, Girolamo Trombetta. (Nice to meet you, Girolamo Trombetta. – Find out more about this expression here.)
Fisherman: What’s wrong with you, stupido (stupid)?
Alberto: What’s wrong with you, stupido?
Alberto: Shut him up. Say, “Silenzio, Bruno!” (Shut up, Bruno!)
Luca: Silenzio, Bruno!
Alberto: Louder! “Silenzio, Bruno!“
Alberto: Andiamo! (Let’s go!)
Old man playing cards: Scopa! (You say scopa when you sweep the board. Scopa literally means broom.)
Policewoman: Mannaggia! (Darn!)
Ercole: Buongiorno a tutti! (Good morning everyone!)
Priest: Oh, mamma mia! (Oh my goodness!) Please no more revving!
Old woman: Che puzza, Ercole! (What a smell, Ercole!)
Ercole: Ciao! Ciao! (Hello! Hello!)
Ercole: Ciao belle! (Hi, beautiful ladies!)
Woman on roof: Eh basta! (Hey, that’s enough!)
Ercole: La mia bambina! (My baby! / My little girl!) Oh mamma mia! (Oh my goodness!)
Ercole: Oh, piccolina (little one), if there is so much as a scratch…
Ercole: Benvenuti a Portorosso! (Welcome to Portorosso!)
Ercole: Per mille sardine! (lit. For a thousand sardines! = Oh my goodness!) How do you think I paid for my beautiful Vespa?
Ercole: Oof. And he smells like behind the pescheria (fishmonger).
Giulia: Hey, Ercole, basta! (Hey, Ercole, stop!)
Ercole: Oh, look who’s here. Spewlia. Wow. That’s how you’re training for the race?
Giulia: Sì, certo. (Yes, of course.) Your reign of terror is coming to an end!
Man: Maggiore! (Commanding officer!) Another sighting! In the harbour, this time.
Ercole: We’re going to catch a sea monster!
Ciccio: Sì! (Yes!)
Giulia: Sto imbecille (This imbecile) thinks he can be such a jerk ’cause he keeps winning the race!
Giulia: Buongiorno, Signora Marsigliese! Due sogliole! Perfetto, ciao! (Good morning, Mrs. Marsigliese! Two sole! Perfect, bye!)
Signora Marsciliese: Grazie! (Thank you!)
Alberto: When you race in a cup, what do you get?
Giulia: Soldi. (Money.) Prize money.
Giulia: Grazie, arrivederci! (Thanks, goodbye!)
Luca: Hey, what if we join her team?
Alberto: Hm, better idea. Hey Spew…girl!
Giulia: Santa mozzarella! (Saint mozzarella! = Goodness gracious!)
Giulia: Santa mozzarella! (Saint mozzarella! = Goodness gracious!) Eyes up!
Giulia: Looking up is what’s making you fall!
Old ladies: Guarda, guarda! (Look, look!)
Alberto: So, can we be on the team?
Giulia: Aspetta! (Wait!) Can you dodge obstacles?
Giulia: You can’t swim. You can barely ride a bike. Siete un disastro! (You’re a disaster!) I mean, where are you ever from?
Alberto: We’re not telling you our secrets. We’re runaways.
Giulia: Runaways? I don’t know, ragazzi… (guys…)
Giulia: Perfetto! (Perfect!) You eat, you bike, and I swim.
Giulia’s dad singing: Bravo, Figaro, bravo, bravissimo, bravo! (Well done, Figaro, well done, very well done, well done!)
Giulia’s dad: Hai visto il giornale today? (Did you see the newspaper today?)
Giulia’s dad: Dinner’s ready. Trenette al pesto. Mangiamo. (Pesto noodles. Let’s eat.)
Giulia: Papà, per favore, I have a team now! (Please, dad, I have a team now!)
Giulia’s dad: There’s also the entry fee. Money is tight.
Giulia: I’ll work double shifts at the pescheria (fishmonger). Whatever you need.
Giulia’s dad: I can’t sell what I don’t have. What I need is more fish in my net. Mi dispiace, Giulietta. (I’m sorry, little Giulia.)
Giulia: Grazie, papà! (Thank you, dad!)
Giulia: Buonanotte, boys! (Goodnight, boys!)
Luca: Buongiorno! (Good morning!)
Giulia’s dad: All right, ragazzi (boys). You want that entry fee, you got to earn it. Giulietta, you make the deliveries.
Giulia: Already making ’em! Ciao! (Bye!)
Fisherman: Buongiorno, Massimo! (Good morning, Massimo!) You’ll keep an eye out for those sea monsters, right?
Alberto looks at Giulia’s dad’s arm
Giulia’s dad: A sea monster ate it. *laughs* Ma, no. (No, no.) This is how I came into the world.
Giulia’s dad: Mannaggia. (Darn.) Not a great catch today.
Old ladies: Ciao, Giulia! (Hi, Giulia!)
Giulia: Ciao! (Hi!) Haha, new personal best! Oh, santo pecorino! (Oh, saint pecorino cheese! = Oh my goodness!)
Giulia’s dad: Your friends do know fish!
Giulia: Benissimo! (Great!) Oooh, let’s go sign up!
Giulia: Grazie, papà! (Thanks, dad!) Come on, we’d better hurry!
Ercole: Champion coming through! Ciao ciao! (Hello, hello!)
Woman: Aren’t you a little old, Ercole?
Ercole: Signora! (Madam!) I am 16.
Woman: But you said that last year.
Ercole: But this year it’s true! You might want to save your money, ragazzi (guys).
Ercole: Hey, the vagrants want to fight! Che bello! (How nice!)
Alberto: Silenzio Bruno! (Shut up, Bruno!)
Ercole: Listen, piccoletto (little one). I eat kids like you for breakfast. I dunk them in my cioccolata (hot chocolate) and yum, finiti (finished)!
Giulia: Haha! Luca! Bravo (good job), we did it!
Giulia: Ok, ragazzi (guys), we have one week to train! Pronti, ai posti, via! (Ready set go!)
Alberto: I got this. Wait, what?
Giulia: Every year they change the pasta. You have to be ready for anything. Could be cannelloni, penne, fusilli, trofie, even lasagne. And you have to use a forchetta (fork). It’s the rule.
Luca: Holy carp. No, I can’t.
Ercole: I know, I know. And remember, piccoletto (little one), *makes throat-cutting sound*
Giulia: Forza (come on), Luca, don’t let him get in your head. You can do this.
Luca. Okay, silenzio Bruno (shut up Bruno). Here we go!
Giulia: Ma sei scemo, Ercole? (Are you an idiot, Ercole?)
Ercole: Hmm, where did the other one go? Eh? Cos’è? (What is that?)
Giulia: Che cavolo stavi pensando? (What the heck were you thinking?)
Ercole: Ma sei matta, Giulia! (You’re crazy, Giulia!) It is wool. It cannot get wet! Guido, make it dry, subito (right away)!
Ercole: Ah, Ciccio! The motor! They are slowly getting away! Ahh, Guido, slap Ciccio! Per mille sardine! (For a thousand sardine! = Good grief!) With contempt!
Children: Sono qui. Passamela! (I’m here! Pass it to me!) *boy kicks ball* Hey, la palla! (Hey, the ball!) Kick it!
Children: Prendila! (Get the ball!) Get the ball!
Boy: Eh, vai! (Yes!)
Giulia’s dad: Hey, ragazzi (boys), I need some help with the nets. You, the big strong one, andiamo (let’s go).
Luca: So this is how machines fly?
Giulia: Sì! (Yes!)
Luca: And there are big towns called cities?
Giulia: Sì! (Yes)
Ercole: Wait your turn, piccoletto (little one)!
Ercole: Put that down, piccoletto (little one)! You’ll hurt yourself!
Luca: Let him go!
Ercole: Go, now, before I change my mind. No one wants you here idioti (idiots). Keep running.
Giulia’s dad: Buongiorno! Andiamo, dai! (Good morning! Let’s go, come on!)
Children: Go Luca!
Ercole: Hey, don’t cheer for him! A casa! (Go home!)
Luca’s dad: Ahaha, this is fun!
Man: Ma che fai! (What are you doing!)
Giulia: Bravo (well done), Luca, that was your fastest yet!
Luca: Santa mozzarella! (Saint mozzarella! = Oh my goodness!) The downhill.
Giulia: I know it looks scary. But here’s what you need to know…
Alberto: Would you stop bossing him around?
Giulia: What is your problem?
Alberto: I’m his friend. I know what he needs.
Giulia: Oh yeah? Well, then, what does he need?
Alberto: Me. We’ll just ride it like we did on the island. Together. Andiamo! (Let’s go!)
Luca: Alberto, stop!
Alberto: That’s Bruno talking!
Luca: No, I’m pretty sure that’s just me!
Old man: Disgraziati! (Scoundrels!)
Ercole: Porca paletta! (Pork shovel! = Oh my goodness!) What was that?
Giulia: Santo pecorino! (Saint pecorino cheese! = Oh my goodness!) That’s the best idea ever! Yes, of course!
Luca: Piacere, Girolamo Trombetta! (Nice to meet you, Girolamo Trombetta!)
Ercole: Sea monster! There it is! Ragazzi (guys), now! Ah, idioti (idiots), you let it get away!
Giulia’s dad: Forza Giulietta! (Come on, little Giulia!)
Ercole: Ciccio, hold still. Olio d’oliva. (Olive oil.)
Lady: Signore e signori (Ladies and gentlemen), the Portorosso Cup is about to begin!
Ercole: Stop crying and tag Guido! Imbecille! (Imbecile!) Andiamo, run run! (Let’s go, run run!)
Giulia: Finito! (Finished!)
Ercole: Per mille cavoli (For a thousand cabbages = Oh my goodness), Guido! Faster! Eat idiota, più veloce! (Eat, idiot, faster!)
Ercole: Oops! Scusa! (Sorry!)
Giulia: I’ll catch you on the downhill!
Ercole: Spewlia, you never even made it to the downhill! What? Impossibile! (Impossible!) He’s cheating! Arbitro! Arbitro! (Adjudicator! Adjudicator!)
Ercole: What’s wrong, piccoletto (little one)? Afraid of a little rain?
Ercole: Huh? For the last time, you two don’t belong here. Get out of my town! Ahh, sea monster! Right there!
Man: Mamma mia! (Oh my goodness!)
Ercole: Ciccio, my harpoon, veloce (quickly)!
Alberto: No, stop, just stay there. You’re still okay. Andiamo! (Let’s go!)
Luca: Alberto, wait! No!
Giulia: Santa ricotta! (Saint ricotta! = Oh my goodness!)
Giulia’s dad: Mostri marini! (Sea monsters!) Give me that!
Giulia’s dad: Signora Marsigliese? (Mrs. Marsigliese?)
Signora Marsigliese: Technically, legally, yes, they won.
Alberto: We won?
Ercole: Who cares if they won? They are sea monsters!
Fisherman 1: Cosa, cosa pensi? (What, what do you think?)
Fisherman 2: Andiamo… (Let’s go…)
Fisherman 1: Eh, vabbè. (Oh well.)
Ercole: What? Come on! Hey!
Ercole: Ciccio! Guido! Another harpoon! Ah, idioti (idiots)! Be useful for once in your pathetic lives!
Ercole: No, piccolino (little one).
Signora Marsigliese: Signore e signori! (Ladies and gentlemen!) The winners of this year’s Portorosso Cup, the underdogs.
Lady: Bravi bambini! (Well done, kids!)
Giulia’s dad: Trenette al pesto. Mangiate! Mangiate! (Pesto trenette. Eat! Eat!) Signora… (Madam…)
Luca’s Grandma: Grazie… (Thank you.)
Giulia: Santo gorgonzola! (Saint gorgonzola! = Oh my goodness!) I need to pack! For school!
Giulia’s dad: And you have your lunch for the train?
Giulia: Sì! (Yes!)
Giulia’s dad: Sweater? If it gets cold?
Giulia: For the millionth time, sì (yes)! I love you too, papà (dad)! Santa mozzarella! (Saint mozzarella! = Oh my goodness!) We did it.
Alberto: Can’t wait to race next summer.
Giulia: Or we could just have fun!
Luca: Ciao (bye), Giulia.
Giulia: Ciao, ragazzi, a presto. (Bye, guys, see you soon.)
Alberto: Piacere, Girolamo Trombetta. (Nice to meet you, Girolamo Trombetta.)
A summary of the most important Italian expressions in Luca
Here is a summary of all the most important Italian expressions that appear in the movie. If you took the time to read through the script above, you will have noticed that quite a few of them are repeated multiple times by various characters. Clicking on the highlighted words and phrases will take you to a dedicated article that goes into more detail about how to use them in context!
|A casa! = Go home!|
|A presto! = See you soon!|
|Andiamo! = Let’s go!|
|Arrivederci! = Goodbye!|
|Aspetta! = Wait!|
|Bambini = Children|
|Basta! = Stop it! / Enough!|
|Benissimo! = Great!|
|Benvenuti a Portorosso! = Welcome to Portorosso!|
|Bravo! / Bravi! = Good job!|
|Buonanotte! = Goodnight!|
|Buongiorno! = Good day! / Good morning!|
|Certo! = Of course!|
|Che puzza! = What a smell!|
|Ciao! = Hello! / Bye!|
|Ciccio = Dude (lit: chubby)|
|Cos’è? = What is it?|
|Evviva! = Hooray!|
|Fine = The End|
|Finito! = Finished!|
|Forza! = Come on!|
|Grazie! = Thanks!|
|Idioti. = Idiots.|
|Imbecille = Imbecile|
|Impossibile! = Impossible!|
|Ma che fai? = What are you doing?|
|Ma sei matta? = Are you crazy?|
|Ma sei scemo? = Are you stupid?|
|Mamma mia! = Oh my goodness!|
|Mangiamo! = Let’s eat!|
|Mannaggia! = Darn it!|
|Mi dispiace = I’m sorry|
|Mostri marini = Sea monsters|
|Per favore = Please|
|Perfetto! = Perfect!|
|Pescheria = Fishmonger|
|Piacere! = Nice to meet you!|
|Piccoletto / Piccolino = Little one|
|Porca paletta! = lit: Pork shovel!|
|Pronti, ai posti, via! = Ready, set, go!|
|Ragazzi = Guys / Boys|
|Scusa! = Sorry!|
|Siete un disastro. = You (guys) are a disaster.|
|Signori / Signore = Gentlemen / Ladies|
|Soldi = Money|
|Stupido! = Stupid!|
|Tutti = Everyone|
|Vabbè = Oh well|
|Vai! = Go!|
|Veloce! = Quickly!|
- *Per mille sardine! = lit: For a thousand sardines!
- *Per mille cavoli! = lit: For a thousand cabbages!
- *Santa mozzarella! = lit: Saint mozzarella!
- *Santo pecorino! = lit: Saint pecorino cheese!
- *Santa ricotta! = lit: Saint ricotta cheese!
- *Santo gorgonzola! = lit: Saint gorgonzola cheese!
*These creative phrases, based on real-life exclamation Santo cielo! (lit. Saint sky!), were invented for the purpose of the film but do not actually exist in Italian. All of them equate to the English expression Oh my goodness!
What does Alberto say to Luca in Italian at the end of the movie?
At the very end of the movie, as Luca is about to head off to school by train, Alberto says:
Piacere, Girolamo Trombetta!
Piacere! (literally “pleasure”) means Nice to meet you! in Italian, whereas Girolamo Trombetta is an Italian male name. It is the same greeting Alberto uses when he first teaches Luca how to walk. We can assume he probably overheard it at some point while exploring the surface.
The director Casarosa gives more insight into this funny phrase in a recent tweet on Twitter:
“It’s a silly kids thing from when I grew up. It’s at its base a pun with a hand shake that goes with it. It’s Italian roughly for “nice to meet you my name is twisty trombone!” And as you say your name you mimic the name in the hand shake movement.”
This phrase is a good example of a cheeky play on words in Italian. The name Girolamo sounds a bit like giro la mano (I turn my hand) and the surname Trombetta means trumpet.
Mathieu Gasquet was born and raised in Turin in the north of Italy to an Italian mother and a French father. He provides the audio pronunciation for Daily Italian Words.