6 Resources with Free Italian Lessons for Learners with “Short Arms”

When I think of finding Italian language lessons on the cheap, the Italian phrase “avere le braccine corte” (“to have short arms”) comes to mind immediately.

And when I hear it in my head, it’s spoken with a robust Italian accent!

Why? Because this commonly used phrase means that a person is cheap—since their arms are too short to reach for their wallet.

Between friends, it’s often heard at a restaurant when the bill arrives. It’s one jibe that leads to laughter—and hopefully everyone coughing up their share of the bill!

But sometimes short arms are a very fine thing, indeed, especially when it comes to language lessons.

When you’re learning a language, paying works. Cheap also works just fine.

But free? It can often work even better—and preserve the contents of the wallet those arms are hesitant to reach for!

You might be surprised to hear that it’s possible to find some fabulous Italian lessons—that are absolutely free!

The Benefits of Taking Free Italian Lessons

Let’s face it: Free resources are fantastic for learning Italian.

If you’re stretched for cash but still want to learn to speak Italian, free lessons make it possible!

  • They allow you to save your money for something extra-useful. Getting some free learning is useful even if your budget isn’t tight. Save your money for other things—like a trip to Rome or Naples!
  • There are many options to choose from. There are loads of options to consider that provide some excellent benefits. You can learn pronunciation from native speakers, gauge your progress with online quizzes, peruse printable lessons and enjoy excellent videos, all without paying a cent.
  • Free lessons cover all areas of the language. There are resources to nail down grammar basics, build a core vocabulary and grab some writing, pronunciation and listening practice.
  • They’re portable and adaptable. If you choose video lessons or podcasts, you get on-the-go learning options. They fit into any schedule and are mobile so you can learn anywhere, any time!
  • They let you design a learning plan that works for you. With free language resources, you’ll be able to create a customized learning program without that nagging feeling that you have to use something just because you paid for it.

I’ve done that so many times—worked on a part of a program that I didn’t care for or didn’t feel fit my needs—just because it was included in the price of the program. With free options, that guilty feeling isn’t even a consideration!

Free Italian Learning Resources to Get You Started

Before we get to programs with full-on lessons, let’s check out some bits and pieces that can add depth to your Italian learning.


If you have a few minutes to spare, YouTube is an excellent spot for quick, fun and completely free Italian learning videos.

Learn Italian with Lucrezia provides some basic Italian phrases for absolute beginning learners. It never hurts to get these down as quickly as possible—and this short video makes them a snap to learn. Check out the rest of Lucrezia’s channel for lots more help learning Italian.

Going to Italy in the near future? The video “Learn Italian for Travel” provides a fast-track session on picking up essential travel phrases.



If you’re into podcasts, you’re in luck! There are some wonderful free Italian learning podcasts that ramp up your language skills as they entertain you.

One of my favorites is Coffee Break Italian from Radio Lingua. There are several seasons worth of podcasts, so there are enough episodes to keep your language learning rolling along. Hosts Francesca and Mark are entertaining and their podcasts are highly informative!


Al Dente is another podcast series that covers Italian language and culture. I look forward to hearing these free episodes so much.

A secret between us? I often listen to the episodes more than once, just because they’re interesting and enlightening! This is a great way to make sure you’re really learning the material—the more you listen, the more you’ll understand. Once you can understand an entire episode, it’s time to move on to the next.

Combine the mini-lessons on YouTube and Podcasts with the free Italian lessons listed below for a robust Italian learning program that’ll have you speaking like a native in no time!

6 Resources to Find Free Italian Lessons and Enjoy a Wealth of Learning

The Italian Experiment


The Italian Experiment is a super resource for Italian language learners. These lessons are complete with audio so even those with no Italian skills at all can practice pronunciation right from the very beginning of their learning journey.

Lessons are short and geared toward beginners. They cover basics like shopping, the definite article “the,” months, -are verbs and lots more.

The Italian Experiment has a section of classic children’s stories in Italian. Follow along as the story is read (the audio button is on the same page as the Italian translation) for an experience that learners of all ages will enjoy. “I Tre Porcellini” (“The Three Pigs”) is especially entertaining!

This site also provides reviews of next-step courses. That’s a huge help because once you’ve learned everything on their site, you’ll have reviews and recommendations for further study right at your fingertips!



FluentU is online Italian immersion. Any level learner can benefit from the real-world videos and authentic speakers that are a core component of this language program.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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But the program is about so much more than videos: You also get access to interactive flashcards and vocab lists, annotated subtitles and personalized quizzes that evolve as you learn.

All videos are subtitled and have interactive captions so there’s no chance of missing a vital piece of information. And if you see or hear a word you’re not familiar with, click on to that word to get in-context definitions as well as examples of how to use the particular word!

You can use FluentU in your browser or download the iOS or Android app. Try the free trial to see if this program suits your learning needs!



Loecsen’s free Italian lessons cover the basics and are ideal for beginning learners to get a feel for the language.

Topics include colors, numbers, feelings, family, transportation, conversation essentials and many more. Each vocabulary word or phrase is presented in Italian with phonetic and audio readings, as well as a charming simplistic illustration.

Quizzes let learners know how they’re progressing which is very helpful when you’re trying to reach a particular skill level.

There are printable lessons and vocabulary lists for take-along learning.

BBC Italian


BBC Italian is no longer updated but it’s still an incredibly useful tool for Italian language learning. All the content is archived, so you can still access it—and there’s a lot of it. There are guides, cultural information, vocabulary and grammar lessons and so much more!

This is a perfect spot for beginners because the basics are covered in-depth. It’s also of benefit for more skilled Italian learners who’ll find the news, television and radio resources especially useful. There’s even an entire Italian drama especially created for learners!

Looking for some holiday phrases? This site has a whole section devoted to holiday words and phrases as well as cultural facts about celebrations and special occasions.

An added perk is that many features are downloadable so learners can take material on the go for learning anytime, anywhere!



This resource is an Italian program that goes from basic topics to more in-depth concepts.

You can find lessons about parts of speech, negation, gender rules and much more. Each lesson is quick and simple and comes with many examples, complete with cute illustrations and useful audio pronunciations.

If you’re looking to boost your vocabulary, check out their awesome list of 500 popular words.

The best way to use this resource is as a checklist, learning a bit from here about a topic then reinforcing it with other resources. Then, move on to the next topic! This’ll help focus your learning if you’re studying Italian on your own.



L-Lingo makes the introduction to the Italian language short and sweet. It’s geared toward beginners and features 10 lessons which cover core vocabulary, with themes ranging from food to animals to family.

Basic conversational skills are covered, including introductions, so even a new learner will be able to carry on a simple conversation after a lesson or two.

Lessons come with audio examples so proper pronunciation is never in question! It’s a good idea to repeat the words and phrases after they’re modeled in the audio clips.

A really helpful section of this program is devoted to additional suggestions for learning. It suggests using flashcards, focusing on grammar and building a solid vocabulary. There are also excellent explanations and examples of many fundamental grammar rules.


Sometimes, short arms aren’t a bad thing.

So keep your wallet in your pocket and get language rich without spending a dime with these amazing free Italian lesson resources.

Have fun and good luck!

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