the best way to learn Italian

What’s the Best Way to Learn Italian That Works for You?

Ciao, amici! Max here, your native Italian language enthusiast. In this guide, let’s explore together the best way to learn Italian that works for you.

If you want to learn Italian, there are many ways to master the language, from web-based courses to immersive experiences.

Each method suits different preferences. Experiment to find what clicks with you for a successful language journey. These methods include:

  1. Online Courses
  2. Podcasts
  3. Mobile Apps
  4. YouTube Channels
  5. Language Books and Flashcards
  6. In-Person Lessons
  7. Language Schools in Italy

We’ll explore each method in detail, outlining popular resources and their pros and cons to help you choose the best fit to study Italian.

This article includes affiliate links for which we may receive compensation at no cost to you. Read our full disclosure here.

Online Courses

web based courses are a great way to learn Italian

A structured online Italian course is ideal for quick learning, fitting easily into daily activities like commuting or exercising, and often includes apps for improving pronunciation, vocabulary, and Italian grammar. Here are 7 of my favorite courses.

1. Rocket Italian

Rocket Italian is a highly engaging and interactive platform that caters to learners of all levels, from beginners to advanced speakers.

This comprehensive course utilizes various multimedia tools, including audio lessons, interactive quizzes, and voice recognition technology to help you learn new vocabulary and master pronunciation, grammar, and written Italian.

With a focus on real-life situations and practical language skills, Rocket Italian is perfect for those who want a well-rounded approach to learning Italian quickly, whether for travel, work, or personal enrichment.

Additionally, they offer a free trial, allowing you to experience the program before committing.

2. Pimsleur

Renowned for its audio-centric approach, Pimsleur is a highly effective language acquisition program that aims to get you to speak Italian in just 30 days confidently.

Concentrating primarily on verbal communication skills, Pimsleur’s scientifically proven method is built around immersive listening and speaking exercises that allow you to absorb Italian vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversational skills intuitively.

Ideal for those who want to develop their speaking abilities quickly, Pimsleur is an excellent choice for travelers or individuals looking to engage in day-to-day conversations easily.

Pimsleur also provides a complete 7-day free trial, enabling you to try out the program before making a commitment.

Curious about the intricacies of “la bella lingua”? Dive into interesting facts about the Italian language in our feature article.

3. Rosetta Stone

A pioneer in language learning, Rosetta Stone offers an immersive and comprehensive method for becoming proficient in Italian.

This program leverages a unique blend of audio and images to help you grasp Italian vocabulary naturally and intuitively. Rosetta Stone also provides a user-friendly mobile app, allowing learners to continue their studies on the go.

While the full-immersion method is undoubtedly effective, some learners may need more focus on grammar and sentence construction.

Nevertheless, Rosetta Stone is an excellent way to acquire knowledge for those who appreciate an interactive and engaging learning experience beyond the web-based course environment.

4. Babbel

Babbel is a popular platform designed for beginner and intermediate learners with a quiz-style format to teach vocabulary and grammar basics. Babbel’s lessons, with a strong focus on practicality, cover real-life situations that will prove invaluable when traveling or communicating with Italian speakers.

Though the platform is highly effective in teaching reading, writing, and listening skills, it may fall slightly short for those seeking to improve verbal communication.

Nonetheless, Babbel’s well-structured courses and engaging content make it an appealing choice for anyone looking to build a strong foundation in Italian.

5. Ouino Italian

Ouino Italian is an excellent alternative for those who find Rocket Italian’s in-depth, textbook-style explanations too complex. It focuses on key information, avoiding overwhelming detail.

The course structure is clear and efficient, with sections dedicated to grammar basics, verb conjugations, vocabulary drills (outlining similarities between Italian and English), and modules for improving pronunciation and conversation skills.

Offering a customizable learning experience, Ouino Italian allows English speakers to learn the language by selecting their lessons based on interest. It also provides a well-organized recommended path for more guided study.

Ouino Italian currently offers a special New Year deal with a 70% discount on lifetime access for a limited time. Go check it out and see if it’s the right fit for your Italian learning journey.

6. iTalki

iTalki is a great choice for learners who prefer personalized and one-on-one instructions. This platform connects you with hundreds of professional Italian teachers and community tutors, catering to various learning styles and proficiency levels.

iTalki’s flexible scheduling allows you to book lessons with a dedicated Italian tutor at times that suit your routine. At the same time, the personalized approach ensures that your unique learning goals are addressed.

With opportunities to practice Italian pronunciation, reading, and writing, iTalki is an excellent resource for those looking to use Italian dialog to receive tailored guidance from experienced instructors.

7. Udemy

As a renowned global learning platform, Udemy offers a wide variety of Italian language courses tailored to different learning styles and proficiency levels.

With hundreds of Italian courses available, students can choose from beginner, intermediate, and advanced lessons and specialized courses focusing on specific skills such as pronunciation, grammar, or conversational Italian.

Udemy’s self-paced courses allow learners to study at their own speed. Many courses include video lectures, quizzes, and interactive exercises to make the learning experience engaging and enjoyable.

Pros and Cons of Online Courses

  • Pros: Structured learning, progress tracking, flexibility to learn at your own pace, and access to learning materials on various devices.
  • Cons: It can be costly, may require an internet connection, and is less immersive than in-person lessons.
  • Suitable Audience: Best for learners who prefer a structured approach, require flexibility in their learning schedule, and enjoy using technology for education.


learn Italian with podcasts

For those who prefer learning on the go or while multitasking, Italian podcasts offer a convenient and enjoyable way to improve your Italian skills.

Podcasts are Italian audio lessons you can listen to anytime, anywhere, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. They cover various topics, from grammar, including Italian verbs, and vocabulary to conversations and culture. Five popular podcast resources are: 

1. Coffee Break Italian

Coffee Break Italian is an engaging and informative podcast that teaches Italian through conversations about everyday topics.

The lessons are broken down into manageable segments, making them ideal for busy learners. With a focus on practical vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, Listening and practicing with this podcast ensures you’ll be well-prepared to communicate in real-life situations.

2. ItalianPod101

ItalianPod101 offers a comprehensive and structured approach to gaining fluency in the language of Italy. With hundreds of lessons available, this podcast covers beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

The lessons are designed to improve your listening comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar skills, while also giving you insights into Italian culture and customs.

3. Podcast Italiano

Podcast Italiano, perfect for intermediate Italian learners, offers episodes tailored to various skill levels. Host Davide enriches learning with personal anecdotes and a focus on colloquial Italian, available with full transcripts on their website.

Run by Davide, an experienced polyglot and translator, the podcast provides free transcripts and bilingual translations for immersive, unscripted Italian conversations, all downloadable from the Podcast Italiano website.

4. News in Slow Italian

News in Slow Italian is an innovative podcast that teaches Italian by discussing current events and news stories. The podcast is presented slower, allowing you to follow along and comprehend the content more easily.

Ideal for intermediate to advanced learners, News in Slow Italian also helps you stay informed about global events while improving your language skills.

5. Learn Italian with Lucrezia

Learn Italian with Lucrezia is a podcast hosted by Lucrezia, a teacher who shares her passion for the language and culture through engaging and interactive lessons.

Covering a range of topics, from grammar and vocabulary to Italian expressions and culture, this podcast offers a fun and authentic way to gain fluency in Italian for students of all levels.

Pros and Cons of Podcasts

  • Pros: Portable and accessible, excellent for multitasking, free or low-cost, and caters to different learning levels.
  • Cons: May not provide comprehensive language instruction, lacks visual aids, limited opportunities for speaking practice.
  • Suitable audience: Best for learners who enjoy auditory learning, have busy schedules, and want to supplement their primary learning method.

Mobile Apps

learning Italian with mobile apps

Mobile apps are a fantastic way to learn Italian for travel, allowing you to practice and study anytime, anywhere.

These user-friendly tools offer an interactive and engaging learning experience, often incorporating fun Italian quizzes to help you retain new knowledge. We’ve selected the top 3 mobile apps for acquiring proficiency in Italian.

1. Duolingo

Duolingo is a top-rated language-learning app that’s perfect for beginners looking to learn Italian in a fun and engaging way.

Using gamification techniques, Duolingo breaks lessons down into bite-sized tasks, making it easy to practice vocabulary, grammar, and listening skills in short sessions.

With a vibrant interface and a reward system that encourages consistency, Duolingo has become a go-to free Italian app for many learners.

However, it’s important to note that while Duolingo is excellent for building a foundation, it may not be sufficient for achieving fluency or mastering advanced concepts.

2. Memrise

Memrise is an innovative language-learning app offering a unique Italian learning approach. Focusing on vocabulary acquisition and retention, Memrise uses spaced repetition and mnemonic techniques to help learners remember new words and phrases more effectively.

With a mix of audio, video, and text-based content, Memrise provides a multimedia experience to engage learners of all types.

Additionally, the app tracks your progress and adapts to your learning pace, ensuring a personalized experience.

3. AnkiApp

AnkiApp is a powerful flashcard-based app designed to help learners master Italian vocabulary and phrases.

Utilizing the spaced repetition method, AnkiApp efficiently reinforces your learning by presenting flashcards at optimal intervals for long-term retention.

You can create custom flashcards or explore a vast library of pre-made decks tailored to various aspects of the Italian language.

While AnkiApp primarily focuses on vocabulary acquisition, it can also be used to learn and reinforce grammar concepts.

It’s important to note that AnkiApp works best as a supplementary resource with other learning methods that provide more comprehensive grammar and conversation skills coverage.

Pros and Cons of Learning Italian with Apps

  • Pros: Convenient, engaging, allows for learning on the go, often free or low-cost.
  • Cons: Limited in-depth language instruction, may not suit advanced learners, requires a compatible device.
  • Suitable audience: Best for learners who want a portable and engaging language learning tool and those looking for a supplementary resource.

YouTube Channels


YouTube is a great way to learn Italian. We’ve handpicked the top 3 YouTube channels to guide you on your journey to fluency:

1. Learn Italian with Lucrezia

Hosted by Lucrezia, a passionate and dedicated Italian teacher, this YouTube channel offers grammar and vocabulary lessons showcasing the Italian lifestyle.

Lucrezia’s friendly and approachable teaching style helps learners of all levels feel comfortable and engaged, making learning Italian enjoyable and effective.

2. Italy Made Easy

Created by Manu Venditti, a native Italian speaker and experienced language teacher, Italy Made Easy offers comprehensive Italian lessons for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners.

The channel delves into various topics such as grammar, vocabulary, conversational skills, and the Italian alphabet offering valuable insights into the Italian lifestyle.

3. ItalianPod101

As part of the Innovative Language Learning series, ItalianPod101 YouTube offers diverse video lessons for learners of all levels.

The channel covers grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, listening comprehension, and conversational skills. With entertaining hosts and real-life situations, ItalianPod101 makes gaining Italian fluency fun and engaging.

Pros and Cons of YouTube Channels

  • Pros: A visually engaging, often free, wide variety of content allows for passive learning.
  • Cons: It can be unstructured, requires more comprehensive language instruction, and requires internet access.
  • Suitable audience: Best for learners who enjoy visual learning, prefer a casual approach, and want to supplement their primary learning method.

Language Books and Flashcards

parlare Italiano

Language books and flashcards have been designed to cater to various learning styles and preferences, providing engaging and compelling content.

Here are five language books (including e-books) and flashcard resources to enhance your Italian learning journey:

1. Italian for Dummies

Italian for Dummies is a comprehensive and beginner-friendly book is perfect for those looking to learn the basics of Italian for everyday situations. It covers essential vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, offering phonetic spellings of words and phrases to help you speak Italian confidently.

2. Easy Italian Phrasebook: 770 Italian Phrases

This handy phrasebook is packed with practical phrases for everyday situations, making it an excellent companion for your travels to Italy. The book is organized by topic, making finding the terms you need quickly easy.

3. Learn Italian FAST in Just 8 Hours!

Designed for those with limited time, this book offers essential vocabulary and phrases to help you quickly navigate Italy. It breaks down the language into bite-sized chunks, ensuring you learn the most critical elements quickly and efficiently.

4. Italian Vocabulary Flashcards

These convenient Italian Vocabulary Flashcards business card-sized flashcards are organized by category. They are suitable for beginner and intermediate learners. They make practicing and memorizing basic Italian words and phrases easy, ensuring steady progress in your language learning journey.

5. SparkNotes Italian Study Cards

Featuring basic vocabulary and essential phrases, these study cards are perfect for starting your Italian language learning journey. The cards are compact, making them easy to carry around. They provide a quick and effective way to review and reinforce your knowledge.

Suggested Read: Discover the 23 Top Italian Grammar Books to Elevate Your Language Skills!

Pros and Cons of Books and Flashcards

  • Pros: Portable, self-paced learning, various topics, physical or digital formats.
  • Cons: Limited opportunities for speaking and listening practice may only suit some learning styles and can become outdated.
  • Suitable audience: Best for learners who prefer a traditional approach, enjoy reading, and need a supplementary resource.

In-Person Italian Lessons

classroom with students

If you prefer a traditional setting to immerse yourself in the Italian language, in-person lessons provide a chance to practice speaking and listening skills with other students and native speakers.

These lessons can be found through a variety of sources. Let’s highlight three of them.

1. Local Italian Cultural Institutes

These institutes promote the Italian language and culture. They often have expert teachers and provide structured lessons in a classroom setting.

By enrolling in their courses, you’ll benefit from high-quality instruction and have the chance to participate in cultural events and activities, making your learning experience more engaging and immersive.

2. Community Colleges or Adult Education Centers

These institutions offer a wide range of Italian language learning courses catering to different skill levels and interests.

Classes are usually more affordable than those at cultural institutes, making them an excellent option for those on a budget. They often provide a structured curriculum, allowing you to learn and practice your Italian skills with other students.

3. Private Tutors

For learners who require a more personalized approach, private Italian tutors offer one-on-one instruction tailored to your specific needs and goals. With flexible scheduling, you can arrange lessons at times that suit your busy life.

Private tutors can provide targeted feedback and individualized attention, ensuring that you make steady progress in your Italian language journey.

Pros and Cons of In-Person Italian Lessons

  • Pros: Face-to-face interaction, immersive learning, opportunities for speaking practice, networking with fellow learners.
  • Cons: Less flexible, potentially more expensive, requires a commitment to attend regular classes.
  • Suitable audience: Best for learners who thrive in social settings, prefer structured learning, and enjoy in-person interaction.

Language Schools in Italy (Full Immersion)

parli Italiano?

For an authentic and immersive Italian learning experience, attending a language school in Italy is the ultimate choice.

Total immersion courses not only provide you with the chance to learn the language in its native environment but also enable you to explore the rich culture and history of the country.

However, keep in mind that moving to Italy for a language program is a significant commitment, both in terms of time and money. That being said, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll cherish forever.

Before deciding on a language school, it’s essential to contact them and thoroughly vet each one to ensure they meet your expectations and requirements.

While we do not directly endorse any specific schools, the ones we’re about to mention have earned a solid reputation and are excellent starting points for your research. Finding the right school for you is crucial to making the most of your Italian language learning adventure.

  • Scuola Leonardo da Vinci (Florence, Rome, Milan, Siena): Offers intensive courses, cultural activities, and accommodation options.
  • Babilonia (Taormina, Sicily): Provides language courses, cultural workshops, and immersion programs in a picturesque setting.
  • Istituto Venezia (Venice): Combines language instruction with cultural experiences, such as cooking classes and art history tours.

Pros and Cons of Language Schools in Italy

  • Pros: Immersive learning experience, cultural enrichment, networking with international students, rapid language acquisition.
  • Cons: It can be expensive, requires travel and time commitment, and may not suit learners with limited vacation time.
  • Suitable audience: Best for learners serious about becoming fluent, want a total cultural immersion, and have the means to travel to Italy.

Tips for Learning Italian

Congratulations on deciding to learn “la bella lingua!” – Now that you have explored the various ways to acquire proficiency in Italian, here are some practical tips to make your learning experience as effective and enjoyable as possible.

1. Make a study plan and set achievable goals

Decide how much time you can realistically dedicate to studying the language and break down your learning goals into smaller, achievable tasks. This will help you stay motivated and track your progress.

2. Immerse yourself in the language

Listen to Italian music, watch Italian movies and Italian TV shows, and try to read Italian books and news articles. This will help you become familiar with the sounds of the language and the nuances of Italian culture.

3. Practice speaking as much as possible

Speaking is the most crucial part of language learning. Find an Italian friend, join a language exchange group, or take advantage of the speaking opportunities in your language course.

Courses like Rocket Italian offer voice recognition tools that allow you to practice and perfect individual words by speaking them repeatedly.

4. Learn grammar in context

It’s fair to say that if you’re learning Italian for travel, focusing specifically on grammar might not be necessary. Instead, learning it within the context of real-life scenarios and conversations can be both helpful and enjoyable.

5. Use flashcards and other memory aids

Flashcards can help you memorize vocabulary and grammar rules quickly and efficiently. There are also many other memory aids available, such as mind maps, mnemonics, and spaced repetition software.

6. Be patient with yourself

Learning a new language takes time and effort, so be easy on yourself if you make mistakes or progress more slowly than expected. Stay motivated and keep practicing, and you will eventually reach your goals.

7. Have fun with it!

Learning a new language like Italian should be an enjoyable experience. Find ways to make your learning experience fun and engaging, such as playing language games, attending Italian events, or cooking Italian food.

By following these tips, you can make your Italian learning journey a success. Remember, the key to success is practice and persistence. With dedication and hard work, you can become fluent in Italian and enjoy all the benefits of speaking a second language. Buona fortuna, and happy learning!

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