Is your phone stocked with Italian learning apps?
Have you scoured the internet for Italian education websites?
Are you signed up for a quality Italian language course to solidify your skills?
Wait a minute…
If you haven’t put a language course on your to-do list yet, now is the time. These structured, expert-taught resources are the keys to mastering the most important Italian skills and taking the next big step toward fluency.
Of course, there are a ton of Italian courses out there, catering to all different types of learners. Where to begin?
Well, grab your notebook—class is in session!
Read on to learn about the best online Italian courses and jump-start your language learning.
Why Take an Italian Language Course?
I know taking an Italian language course can sound intimidating and even expensive, but hear me out.
Italian courses are an awesome way to learn the Italian language because they’re structured to ensure that you get all the important stuff covered. They normally hit all the bases: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Further, online Italian language courses help keep you focused and on track. Let’s be real, sometimes life gets busy, and what starts off as an ambitious Italian learning goal becomes just another forgotten item on a to-do list. But with a course, you can’t help but stay focused!
Italian courses are especially useful if you’re looking for concise definitions and explanations. Maybe you’ve picked up some basic vocabulary and comprehension skills and now you’re dying to be able to actually communicate with Italians. Sometimes the best way to build on your beginner skills—especially when it comes to grammar—is just to have someone explain how the rules work to you.
Now, what if I told you that you could take an inexpensive Italian course without even leaving the comfort of your own home? I mean, taking a course in Italy would be ideal, but with the many resources available online, it’s possible to save the cost of a flight, accommodation and course fees and still get a quality Italian language education!
These online courses typically offer a wealth of great audio and reading resources perfectly targeted for your learning level. You’ll never have to wonder if something is too advanced for you to do again!
Best of all, some Italian courses allow you to connect with instructors and classmates. This is fantastic because, ultimately, we learn Italian so that we can speak Italian. Having a course instructor or course peers means added practice and direction for your Italian communication skills.
Va’ a Scuola: The 23 Best Online Italian Language Courses for 2020
Ready to get your study on? It’s time to va’ a scuola (go to school)!
These days, there are so many Italian courses available online, it can be hard to know which is the right fit for you.
Do you crave structure?
Do fun and games help you learn?
Are you motivated by cultural learning?
Whatever your learning style, check out these 23 online Italian language courses. You’re sure to find something that suits your needs!
Our first online Italian course is an oldie but a goodie.
FSI Italian Fast is actually a course that was developed by the U.S. government for diplomats and other government workers. That means it’s targeted and concise and focuses on getting learners to speak effectively to native Italian speakers as soon as possible!
Further, this governmental course is in the public domain, meaning it’s absolutely free to access.
The FSI Italian Fast course mixes a textbook-based approach with hours of audio recordings. And I’m not exaggerating: there are literally hours of professional, government-grade recordings accompanying the Italian lessons. So this course is perfect for growing your comprehension skills alongside your communication skills and allows you to develop that awesome Italian accent and intonation.
In addition to the instruction material, this course contains many exercises for you to practice and perfect your Italian. After this course, you can expect to be proficient in the most basic and common Italian conversations and ready to tackle a more comprehensive and grammar-focused Italian program.
Looking to learn Italian the authentic way?
How about with contemporary Italian videos covering any topic you’re interested in!
FluentU’s Italian program takes real-world content—like music videos, movie trailers and inspiring talks—and turns them into language learning experiences.
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’ve learned to recommend videos and ask you questions based on what you already know.
Plus, it’ll tell you exactly when it’s time for review. Now that’s a 100% personalized experience!
If Italian travel is in your near future, this six-week online course from ed2go will set you up with the basics of the language and load you up with the kind of practical knowledge you’ll need while abroad. You’ll start with basic greetings, the alphabet and pronunciation, and work all the way up to shopping and eating out in restaurants.
Instant Italian, which is taught by a real college-level instructor, provides audio of words and phrases, dialogues, exercises and more. You’ll learn not just the language but the historical and cultural context you need to make your way around Italy, including gestures.
This course, while still very flexible, is a little less so than some on the list, as it’s suggested that you complete each lesson during the two weeks after it’s released in order to gain access to a corresponding interactive discussion area. This might make it a good option for those who need to learn basic Italian in a limited amount of time or want to push themselves.
Even if you’re not planning on traveling anytime soon, this is a great starter course for anyone looking to get their feet wet with the Italian language and culture.
Rosetta Stone is, well… the Rosetta Stone of learning Italian!
By that I mean that it’s perhaps one of the oldest language learning software programs, and it has completely stood the test of time. In fact, the first Rosetta Stone was released as a CD-ROM back in 1992 and, to date, millions of people worldwide have used Rosetta Stone to learn a language.
Rosetta Stone is available in many formats. Its CD-ROM iteration can be bought in online marketplaces such as Amazon, or learners can download the program for a lifetime account at a flat price. You can also pay by a monthly subscription fee for its online iteration. There’s also an app for on-the-go learning.
Rosetta Stone uses so-called “Dynamic Immersion” to help users learn Italian. That means that it uses authentic Italian audio as well as visual cues and input exercises to learn the language. Rosetta Stone Italian follows a detailed curriculum and is stretched over five courses, spanning beginner to advanced levels.
The lessons are based around phrases and authentic conversations. Learners must read and listen to genuine Italian content and then write in Italian words and phrases. There are also clear and concise grammar lessons, and Rosetta Stone’s speech technology, TruAccent, allows learners to work on their pronunciation. Some plans include live tutoring with actual native speakers.
Unlike many other language courses on this list, Duolingo is completely free! Like Rosetta Stone, however, Duolingo is immensely popular, and as of May 2020, there are over 5.9 million people who use Duolingo for learning Italian.
Duolingo’s Italian lessons are based on a language learning “tree.” In essence, this is a curriculum for learning Italian from scratch. The tree contains multiple modules revolving around a specific topic. Each module contains multiple lessons that teach common phrases and vocabulary around that topic. Each lesson includes speaking, reading, writing and listening practice as well as grammar notes. You can choose to level up topics for more practice or advanced learning.
In order to move forward in the “tree,” learners have to complete preceding modules, so learning is very much guided. There’s a simple solution for non-beginner Italian learners: new users can take an Italian proficiency test, and based on results, start further in the “tree” so as to not relearn beginner topics.
Speechling Italian is the perfect language course for speaking practice. It mixes flashcards and speaking practice, with an added bonus of native speaker support.
Speechling Italian presents common Italian words and phrases via audio flashcards. Like Duolingo, Speechling also uses the “tree” format to structure its course offerings with decks available for beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert learners. There are even decks available for specific topics such as transportation, health and verbs.
Once you’ve chosen the level or topic deck you want to learn, Speechling uses Spaced Repetition System (SRS) technology to perfectly time flashcard review so the words and phrases stay in your brain. Each flashcard allows you to see the Italian word and its translation as well as hear the Italian word and record your own audio for each flashcard.
While the base of Speechling is available for free online, learners can opt to pay for a premium account. That premium account gives learners the opportunity to have their recorded audio evaluated by native speakers for tips on how to improve pronunciation.
Mondly is a great all-around Italian language course. It takes the strengths from immersion-esque programs such as Rosetta Stone with the structure of courses such as Duolingo. Because of this, Mondly is a paid language learning program, and subscriptions can be purchased in one-month or three-month intervals.
Primarily, Mondly teaches Italian through pictures, phrases and conversations. Learners follow a visual map of topics in order to progress through the course, and each “destination” on the map revolves around a particular topic.
Each lesson contains native Italian audio for crystal clear recordings of Italian. The lessons also use matching exercises, sentence-building exercises and speech recognition technology to get learners using the language. The conversations featured on Mondly are also recorded by native speakers, and the included flashcards can be studied at regular intervals through SRS technology.
Additionally, learners can even have an Italian chat conversation with the Mondly bot, an artificial intelligence program to enhance learning.
The OUINO program aims to help Italian learners excel in the two tools needed to speak Italian fluently: a strong core method and external sources. They claim that external sources are the things that help you create an artificial immersion and fall in love with the language such as books, movies and TV shows. The strong core method, they say, is OUINO’s Italian course.
The course itself can be accessed for a monthly subscription fee, or learners can opt to buy lifetime access to the OUINO learning program.
Unlike other Italian language courses, learners can choose their own learning path: there’s no set curriculum for learners to follow, so they can choose which topics they believe are the most useful to their Italian language journey. The course’s lessons include explanations of grammar and vocabulary as well as exercises to reinforce what has been learned. There’s also the handy “Building Blocks” modules that teach the structure of the Italian language so that an infinite amount of sentences can be created in Italian after completion.
OUINO Languages also includes various tools to support the course. These include a verb conjugator, vocabulary lists, audio and written conversations and pronunciation practice.
This Italian language course is run by the popular online learning platform Udemy. In short, Udemy offers MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), courses that are structured similar to those offered by universities and colleges, but completely open to anyone online.
This course in particular, “Learn Italian Language: Complete Italian Course for Beginners,” is a full online self-paced Italian course created by AbcEdu Online that can be purchased for a one-time fee.
The course itself includes eight hours of HD video with Italian captions and English subtitles. Each lesson revolves around said video and the vocabulary and grammar associated with it. The lessons also come with practice exercises as well as a PDF of the lesson’s video and associated content.
Best of all, after you complete the beginner’s course, there’s also an intermediate course available.
ItalianPod101 is from Innovative Language, the company behind the famed Pod101 series. The Pod101 series offers courses for many languages including Russian, Finnish and, of course, Italian. In addition to their courses that can be completed on their website, they offer a lot of free material on their YouTube channel and in podcast form.
ItalianPod101 offers four “pathways” (courses) for Italian learners depending on their level: Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. These courses can be followed chronologically or learners can choose their own order to complete the lessons.
The lessons themselves are a mix of grammar and vocabulary, often revolving around a video or audio dialogue of a certain topic. ItalianPod101 offers authentic Italian audio, vocabulary flashcards and in-depth lesson notes. With some plans, ItalianPod101 even offers personalized teachers to help you along your learning journey.
You can learn Italian for free with ItalianPod101 by signing up for a free account on their website. This free account allows you to access the first three lessons in every pathway as well as new lessons added every week. A monthly or yearly subscription purchase to Basic, Premium or Premium+ plans gives you full access to the course as well as add-ons such as audio dialogues, quizzes and an Italian audio dictionary.
Pimsleur is a series of language learning courses that are based on the research of renowned linguist Paul Pimsleur. According to his Pimsleur Method, nothing is more important than memory to language learning. The Pimsleur Italian course uses Pimsleur’s principles to deliver an effective course.
Primarily, Pimsleur is a structured course that can be followed chronologically. It uses so-called “Graduated Interval Recall” to help learners move Italian words and phrases learned in authentic content to their long-term memory. To do this, it uses digital flashcards in addition to teaching core vocabulary in the course itself.
Other features include Pimsleur’s Speak Easy speech recognition tool to help master Italian pronunciation as well as extensive online exercises. Further, Pimsleur courses are compatible with Amazon Echo devices, so you can master Italian while doing house tasks such as cooking, laundry or cleaning.
Pimsleur can be purchased with a monthly membership.
Michel Thomas was also a renowned linguist who turned his research into a comprehensive method for learning languages. This method is based on Michel Thomas’ famed language learning techniques: lots of audio input, a reduction of stress and learning comfortably. In fact, Thomas believed that the best way to learn a language was to create an environment as comfortable as possible, which is definitely something we can all get behind. (Where are my track pants at?)
There are currently six Michel Thomas courses available for Italian. The beginner’s course, “Foundation Italian,” is an eight-hour audio-based course. It focuses on learning vocabulary, phrases and grammar to begin speaking instantly. There’s a ton of authentic Italian audio and lots of opportunities for learners to participate in audio exercises.
Originally sold as an audio course in CD-ROM form, you can now download entire Italian courses for a one-time, per-course fee. If you’re interested in testing out the Michel Thomas method, there’s a free lesson available on their website.
The “Italy Made Easy” Italian courses are based on the successful “Italy Made Easy” YouTube channel. Manu, the creator of the courses and YouTube channel, is a native Italian speaker and polyglot who is passionate about teaching all levels of Italian.
As such, there are multiple “Italy Made Easy” courses offered. There are straightforward courses for beginner and intermediate learners as well as a course that teaches the language exclusively through Italian podcasts. There’s even a short course that teaches the 400 most common Italian words that’s sure to give your vocabulary a quick boost.
All “Italy Made Easy” courses follow a structured curriculum. There are hundreds of lessons per course spanning many vocabulary and grammar topics. The crux of each course, however, is Italian speaking and listening, with Manu offering lots of authentic Italian in each lesson. In fact, there’s virtually no English used in intermediate-level lessons.
In addition to the courses available on the “Italy Made Easy” website, there are free lessons on the YouTube account.
Like “Italy Made Easy,” Italiano Automatico was originally made as a YouTube channel. Its creator, Alberto, originally set out to create the #LearnItalianShow where he offered 300 free video lessons for Italian. Since then, he has continued to create Italian content on his YouTube channel as well as Italian courses that can be purchased on his website.
Italiano Automatico’s courses are unique because they revolve almost exclusively around Italy’s rich heritage: its famed food, culture and history. Further, the Conquista l’italiano (Conquer Italian) course teaches the language primarily through listening and reading interesting and authentic material. In fact, there’s no explicit memorization of grammar rules or vocabulary. The course instead aims to teach the language through the consumption and production of real Italian content.
In addition to the courses, there are over 600 free videos and lessons available on Italiano Automatico’s YouTube channel.
Rype is an app and language learning program that was primarily funded through an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign. In its current form, it’s a paid service for learning Italian with a free trial available.
The main aim of Rype is to learn authentic Italian with real native speakers. Instead of memorizing grammar rules and vocabulary tables, the lessons are catered to each individual learner’s needs and their purpose for learning the language. In fact, in the first lesson with a native speaker, the teacher will even ask you, “Why are you learning Italian?” and then your subsequent lessons will be based on your input.
Rype uses Skype to conduct its one-on-one Italian lessons. There are many Italian teachers available, and learners can choose from a teacher’s available time slots for when they would like the lesson conducted.
Do you want on-the-go learning that can be accessed at home, during your commute or as you do your grocery shopping? Well, Let’s Speak Italian! is a podcast that teaches the Italian language from scratch, and it can be directly downloaded onto your smartphone or computer.
This is the perfect Italian course for learners who have zero knowledge of the Italian language, and it follows a logical learning path for beginners to bring their skills up to the intermediate level. The lessons are taught in both English and Italian, with the focus being on the most common vocabulary and essential grammar. Lessons also feature authentic Italian conversations and opportunities for learner participation through audio exercises.
Sample lessons are available on the website, and the full podcast course of 120 lessons is available at a one-time purchase price.
Like the Let’s Speak Italian podcast, LingQ is a language learning platform that revolves around audio as a primary tool for teaching Italian. Created by accomplished polyglot Steve Kaufmann and his son, Mark, LingQ has thousands of audio lessons for all levels of Italian learner.
Steve Kaufmann’s method places much importance on input, so the lessons in LingQ use reading and listening in tandem to help learners excel in the Italian language. There’s a predetermined learning path for users to follow, but learners can also choose from the feed of lessons according to their needs and interests. Best of all, LingQ contains a lot of user-generated content: new lessons are constantly being added, and learners can import their own material such as online news articles.
In each LingQ lesson, there’s a transcript of the content in Italian as well as a built-in translation. Unknown words become LingQs (essentially, flashcards) that can be reviewed later. Each revision of said flashcard increases that word’s status until it becomes a “known word.” There are also Italian grammar notes available and tutoring lessons taught by native speakers.
LingQ has a limited free option available, and an unlimited premium account comes with a monthly subscription fee.
Easy Italian is a YouTube video course that’s completely free. It was created by the popular Easy Languages series that creates authentic content for languages such as German, French and Russian.
The Easy Italian videos are completely in Italian, so this course is recommended for intermediate learners. The video lessons revolve around authentic Italian conversations between the videos’ hosts and native Italian speakers in the streets.
Italian and English subtitles are available on screen. Each video revolves around a specific topic such as Italian cuisine or culture. Weekly exercises to accompany the videos are available with a subscription fee on Easy Italian’s website. There are currently 35+ video lessons with new videos being added regularly.
If the Italian in the videos is too advanced, there’s also a playlist called Super Easy Italian that’s aimed at beginner learners.
OnlineItalianClub.com is exactly what its name suggests: an Italian club! As such, it offers what most clubs offer: personal contact, friendly service and a community feel. There’s course material for all learning levels, from beginner to advanced. That means that you can start with zero knowledge of Italian and work your way up to advanced status!
Unlike other Italian courses, the lessons offered by OnlineItalianClub.com are relatively unstructured and self-directed. This is perfect for those who have a clear idea of what they want to learn or those who may not have the time to commit to a complete intensive course.
Further, the course materials include themed lessons and grammatical explanations as well as audio recordings, verb conjugation guides and vocabulary building exercises. While membership is required for some of the club’s content, most is available without a membership.
And even still, membership is free!
CyberItalian isn’t free, but this resource has a pretty cheap monthly subscription fee. In fact, you can sign up and take self-study courses for as low as $4.95 monthly.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Students who are interested in self-guided study can choose from the beginner, intermediate or advanced courses. Each course comes with 20 online lessons comprising audio and video resources, pronunciation guides and a voice recording system, grammar references and more.
There’s even an “ask-the-prof” service for those moments when you’re feeling lost in the language.
If you’d like something more structured and don’t mind spending a little more, CyberItalian also offers students the option to take tutored courses or one-on-one private lessons to help perfect their accent and language skills.
Okay, so you want that classroom feel, but you don’t want to pay those hefty tuition fees. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
Welcome to edX! edX offers university-style online courses available to anyone, anywhere. In fact, this particular Italian course—which has been offered by Wellesley College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—is so flexible that you can join it at any time.
It’s aimed at beginner Italian learners and is self-directed. However, the course’s organization is everything you’d expect from university-style learning.
The course itself is a mixture of video, podcast and textbook work. That means you get the benefit of a lecture-style learning method as well as practical experience learning and speaking Italian. You get the full university experience without the full university price (and without having to pack up your stuff and move cross-country!).
The best part: after this Italian course, there are two more Italian language courses for intermediate and advanced study to continue to grow your skills.
With Babbel, you can start at the beginner level and take courses all the way up to the intermediate level.
The courses combine grammar and vocabulary explanations and the audio and video component is superb. Alongside the comprehensive beginner and intermediate courses, there are also themed courses focused on everything from idioms to Italian for vacationers.
Each course also offers a wealth of exercises to practice the skills you’ve just learned. The courses follow a logical sequence so you can work your way toward proficiency at your own pace.
A Babbel subscription is available for a monthly fee.
If you’re looking for a course that’s a little less textbook-based, try One World Italiano. It’s got an Italian course feel without the Italian course pressure.
You simply log on, pick your lesson and watch away. It’s the perfect method for informal, approachable Italian learning.
Each course video tackles a specific topic in the Italian language. The videos are completely in Italian, which may feel a little intimidating for beginner learners, but each video has translations, helpful grammar notes and exercises. Think of it as an Italian immersion experience!
After completing the beginner video course, there are subsequent pre-intermediate and intermediate courses you can follow. If you want to complement your video lessons with something else, you can also check out one of One World Italiano’s non-video courses.
So, get a good matita (pencil) and va’ a scuola (go to school), Italian learner!
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