Who is Lina’s Father in Love & Gelato: Howard or Matteo Fossi?

Based on American author Jenna Evans Welch’s 2016 debut novel of the same name, ‘Love & Gelato’ is a heart-warming romantic comedy film. It revolves around Lina Emerson (Susanna Skaggs), an American high-school graduate who comes to Italy to retrace her mother’s footsteps shortly after her passing and finds love, family, and herself. Lina has primarily led a risk-averse life. She and her mother, Hadley, were supposed to take the trip together, but the latter was diagnosed with cancer. Although her mother had always claimed that the time she spent in Rome when she was younger changed her, she never really elaborated on her experience. Hadley also didn’t tell Lina about her father. Not long after arriving in Italy, Lina discovers he could have been one of the men her mother knew in the country. Here is everything you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Who Is Lina’s Father?

At the start of the film, Lina virtually has no knowledge about her father. The only thing Hadley told her about him was that the next time she (Hadley) saw him, she would have to be bailed out of jail. Evidently, whatever Hadley and this mysterious man had between them didn’t end well. Lina is highly reluctant to go to Italy — or anywhere for the matter — this soon after her mother’s death. She has spent her entire high school trying to convince herself that her mother would get better and didn’t have a normal and carefree life of a young adult. But the trip to Italy was Hadley’s “living wish,” a phrase that Hadley came up with herself, and Lina promised her mother that she would honor it.

In Italy, Lina meets Howard Riley (Owen McDonnell), a Scottish cousin of her Italian godmother, Francesca (Valentina Lodovini). When Hadley was in Italy, she stayed with Francesca’s family, and the two young women of the same age grew quite close, and a friendship that lasted a lifetime was formed. As per Hadley’s wishes, Francesca gives Lina her mother’s diary, and the younger woman begins reading it out of sheer curiosity. Lina learns that her mother met a man at her photography class, whom she refers to as “X” in her writings, so Francesca would not figure out who he was if she ever read the diary.

This X told Hadley to keep the relationship a secret but later started to ignore her. When Lina reads about this, she immediately notices how similar her own experiences in Italy have been to that of her mother. Lina later realizes that her mother got pregnant shortly after spending a night with X. She initially thinks that X is Howard and that he is her father. This prompts Howard to finally tell her the truth. Although he wishes otherwise, he is not her father. Lina’s father is Matteo Fossi (Cristiano Piacenti), a Florence-based photographer and Hadley’s professor in the photography class she took.

Despite Howard telling Lina that she will be better off without Fossi, Lina travels to Florence to meet him. However, both Howard and Hadley are proven right when Fossi refuses to see her. Lina still barges into his office before leaving with a portrait Fossi took of her mother.

Ultimately, it is revealed that Hadley wanted her daughter to come to Italy, so the latter and Howard would meet. Hadley and Howard had come to love each other, but it never transitioned into an actual relationship. In her attempt to bring Lina and Howard close, she left her daughter with someone who may not be her biological father but genuinely cares for her. Toward the end of the film, Lina decides to stay in Italy and spend more time with Howard.

Read More: Where was Netflix’s Love & Gelato Filmed?