The disappearance of her old friend, Lila Cerrullo, causes 60-year-old author Elena Greco to reflect on the early days of their friendship in 1950s Naples, when Elena and Lila are two very different girls at the top of their class.
A trip out of town becomes a day Elena will never forget, and a death changes things in the neighbourhood forever.
Elena continues her studies, but finds it difficult to obtain good grades. Lila, though she has ended up working in her father's shoe factory, manages to help her with Latin and ends up overshadowing her when everyone in the neighbourhood realises that Lila is the girl who has read every single book in the local library.
Lila's beauty flourishes and all the boys in the neighbourhood approach her, including Marcello Solara, whom she utterly rejects, and Stefano Carracci, whose behaviour is in stark contrast to his father's. As a boyfriend Elena finds a classmate with no particular qualities, while dreaming of Nino Sarratore.
Elena grows tired of Gino, while Lila rejects two potential suitors at a cost. A rare outing into the city turns violent.
On the island of Ischia, Elena runs into the Sarratore family, reigniting her childhood crush on Nino. Lila continues to resist Marcello's courtship.
Elena as Teenager
Lila as Teenager
Elisa del Genio
Elena as Child
Lila as Child
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