The first step is sometimes the biggest leap when it comes to learning Italian.
We’d all love to croon with Tiziano, curl up with a tale by Eco or enjoy a flick by Fellini right off the bat…
But when you’re an Italian beginner, you’ve got to start with the boring stuff.
Or do you?
It’s true that studying grammar, memorizing vocabulary and drilling your pronunciation are helpful, but there’s no reason you can’t experience real Italian, right here, right now—thanks to Italian articles written for beginners.
Reading articles for Italian beginners combines the best aspects of immersion language learning with grammar and vocabulary that’s appropriate for your level.
No need to wade around in the baby pool. We’ll show you how to find real, engaging and totally Italian articles right from the start.
Let’s jump in!
No Italian? No Problem! Immerse Yourself Immediately with These Italian Beginner Articles
The key to learning Italian is through immersion. In other words, you want to surround yourself with the written and spoken language as much as possible. This can be tough as a beginner, but reading real Italian articles and stories at an appropriate level is a great way to mimic the immersion process.
Speaking and listening may seem like the way to go, but these skills are usually quite hard at a low level. New words fly around faster than flies in a Neapolitan pizzeria, and it’s easy to get lost and discouraged.
By contrast, reading allows you to choose your own pace, stop and start when necessary and look up new words at your convenience. Not only that, but reading real Italian will also introduce you to the building blocks of Italian grammar at a deeper, more immersive level. It’s kind of like doing Italian inception to your own brain (except you can’t do it when you’re sleeping, unfortunately!).
It might be difficult at first, but don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of tools to help you on your way. Make sure to come equipped with a great Italian dictionary to help you with new words, as well as a pencil and a notebook. Remember to write down words you want to remember!
You’ll probably want to supplement your reading with authentic audio materials as well, to make sure you’re building your skills evenly. FluentU is a great option for entertaining, authentic Italian videos to complement the articles below.
FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles.
Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.
Once you've watched a video, you can use FluentU's quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’re learning, and give you extra practice with difficult words.
Plus, it'll tell you exactly when it's time for review. Now that's a 100% personalized experience!
The best part? You can try FluentU for free!
Start using FluentU on the website, or better yet, download the app from iTunes or the Google Play store.
In addition, FluentU Italian also has a YouTube channel.
The channel has been created to teach you Italian from scratch in an immersive way. You’ll get clips from movies transformed into language lessons, grammar tips and vocabulary lists, among other interesting stuff.
One example is the following video, catered to complete beginners who are just starting their Italian language adventure:
Learning Italian with the help of engaging and effective videos is now possible with FluentU’s Italian YouTube channel. Subscribe today and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss out on any new content!
Diving In: Life-saving Tips and Tricks Before You Take the Plunge
Navigating sites and articles in Italian as a beginner can be disorienting. Here are some tips to guide you through any murky waters.
Get to Know the CEFR
The CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) is the standardized breakdown of language ability by level. Many Italian resources and readings for learners will be labeled using this system. Here are the levels:
You’ll notice that many of the articles below are labeled A1. As you continue to wade through the waters of the Italian internet, keep your eyes open for this indicator to find more immersive and level-appropriate Italian articles.
To experience real Italian articles, you’ll need to learn to navigate Italian-language websites. This is an exercise in and of itself. It’s totally immersive and fun, so don’t be afraid to click away and see where you end up. When you get back on track, use these keywords to guide you towards the content that’s right for you.
Comunicazione scritta (Written communication)
Comprensione scritta (Written comprehension)
The internet was born in English, so many internet-related words in Italian are taken straight from English. Others have been Italianized but still sound pretty familiar. Watch for these cognates as you explore.
Cliccare (To click)
Taggare (To tag)
Turn a New Page: 6 Italian Articles for Beginner Language Learners
“Why Learn Italian?”
If you need a little motivation before you get started (or just need a moment to procrastinate) check out this article. It spells out in simple and fun terms what the big deal is about la lingua dell’amore (the language of love).
Like, did you know that Italian is the fifth-most studied language in the world?
This is the perfect article to help transition into completely Italian articles. It’s in English, true, but it’s peppered with tons of Italian vocabulary and the translations aren’t given in the article.
Yep, that’s right. Time to open that dictionary.
And once it’s already open and you’re pumped to start studying, why not continue to our first totally Italian article?
“La Sorpresa” (“The Surprise”)
This is the story of a man, a woman and a party. Plans go awry and blunders abound, but it’s sure to have a happy ending (or is it…?).
Take a deep breath. You won’t have to dive too deep for this one. There’s a really neat tool to help beginners dip their toes into Italian with confidence: this article has a parallel text, which means it features the English translation right next to the original Italian text.
This lets you easily compare and contrast the two languages.
You can use the parallel translation to do a powerful immersion exercise. Once you’ve read the story a few times, cover the English part and try to translate the Italian back to English. Then, compare with the book’s English translation to see how much vocabulary and grammar you picked up!
This article is free, but in order to get the full PDF you’ll still need to click “Add to cart” and go through the motions of checking out.
“Storie per Principianti” (“Stories for Beginners”)
These stories for beginners are short, sweet and make Italian learning fun. The book comes with a story for each letter of the alphabet, as well as exercises and audio.
Each story starts with the corresponding letter of the alphabet (the first is called, “A come Amore” (“A is for Love”). This is wonderful for new learners as a familiar, stable context is always determined before the story even starts.
Each story is less than a page and contains images to help learners define new language. And the best part? The stories are cheeky and funny. No drab textbook Italian here. This makes the quest for comprehension much more rewarding.
Right from the outset you’ll be introduced to dialogue and full sentences in the present tense. All of the stories are full of enough high-frequency adjectives and nouns to warrant multiple readings, and the exercises that follow help to reinforce retention.
“Storie per Principianti” is available in its 64-page full version for 7.50 Euros (roughly 9 USD) but the first chapter along with its exercises and audio is free. Just click the PDF links under the word Anteprime (Previews) and get reading.
“Quando Sono con Te” (“When I’m with You”)
Italian is a musical language full of vibrant emotion, and one of the best ways to experience it is through song. Getting hooked on some Italian tunes and reading along with the lyrics is an excellent way to learn and retain new language.
This song, “Quando Sono con Te,” is by the Italian band Ex-Otago. It’s catchy, fun and the lyrics are easy to grasp. The grammar stays in the present tense and the lyrics are repetitive. Some words to look for relate to seasons, months and times of day.
Try reading the lyrics first and then watching the video. Follow along if you can. If you can’t at first, it’s okay. It takes time to get used to spoken (or sung) Italian if you’ve only been reading thus far. When you’re a bit more confident, try to sing along while mimicking the singer’s accent as closely as possible.
There are some additional exercises below the lyrics for more of a challenge. If you don’t like this particular song, or just love studying Italian with music, keep scrolling down to the heading Articoli correlati (Related articles). Under this heading, you’ll find links to more popular Italian songs with exercises.
“Mi Chiamo Fiorella…” (“My Name Is Fiorella…”)
After all these quirky tales and sing-alongs it’s time to take things down a notch with the heartwarming tale of Fiorella. Fiorella is a normal girl with a not-so-normal job. What does she do every day of the week? You’ll just have to read to find out.
The story of Fiorella will introduce you not only to our protagonista (protagonist) but also to some essential vocabulary. You’ll encounter the days of the week along with adverbs and expressions of frequency like di solito (usually), sempre (always) and una volta al mese (once a month).
Directly under the reading there’s an exercise. Try to place the series of pictures describing Fiorella’s routine in the correct order. The solution is on the next page of the PDF. No peeking!
“Mi Chiamo Fiorella…” is available free of charge. Just click the link, scroll down and click the button labeled scarica (download) to download the PDF file.
“In Viaggio Per…” (“Traveling For…”)
There are many reasons to study Italian, but one of the most satisfying is for travel. There’s nothing like being able to experience the sunny beaches and antique streets of Italy like a local.
This piece tells a story through reading comprehension exercises. You’ll read about six people and their diverse reasons for traveling to our beloved peninsula. Once you finish reading, try to match the descriptions with the photos of the people below.
There’s a lot of crucial grammar and vocabulary here. In this short piece, you’ll learn about the names of foreign countries in Italian, how to say where you’re from and how to describe yourself physically. There’s also an introduction to how adjectives change based on gender and plurality, which is something that we don’t have in English.
If you’re feeling extra frisky, there are two more full pages of exercises that follow the article. This one just keeps on giving.
To access this article, click the link and then click the box that says scarica (download) next to the line that reads scarica la scheda (download the worksheet). When you’re done, you can click the link below the first to download the soluzioni (answers). This activity is free.
Full Immersion, Full Steam Ahead
Are you ready to hit the bars and cafés of Italy and shoot the breeze with the locals?
Probably not quite yet. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t experience the satisfaction and enjoyment of an immersive Italian experience. These Italian articles for beginners are designed to provide just that.
Once you’ve got a grip on them, continue exploring the websites where you found them. Before you know it, you’ll be singing “Valore Assoluto” (“Absolute Value”) in your sleep and waking up to fresh espresso at bar Sant’Eustachio in the morning.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos.