Every job has its tools.
You wouldn’t go on a trip without the correct gear or try your hand at painting without buying some brushes and paints.
It makes sense to assemble the resources you’ll need for any undertaking in life—and that includes learning Italian.
Language learning has its own must-have tool list. Each resource is designed with a pretty specific purpose. And every Italian learning tool enriches the entire language learning journey.
So it absolutely makes sense to pull some excellent resources together when assembling your Italian language program, doesn’t it? Of course it does!
Fortunately for you, there are a ton of incredible resources intended to make learning this delightfully romantic language a wonderful adventure.
Let’s check some out!
What Italian Learning Tools Should You Use?
There are some basic resources that have been successfully used by countless Italian language learners. On their own, they provide the potential for some measure of achievement but when combined, they can build a formidable program.
Of course, the first resource is a good Italian language course. But beware—not all are created alike! Honestly, some courses can be duller than dirt so do a bit of research (or check out the research we’ve done for you here) and choose one that suits your needs.
Look for native speakers, dynamic content, room for leveling up within the program and resources and activities that touch on Italian grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, listening and speaking skills. Don’t forget that writing in your new language is essential, too, so make sure there’s a way for you to practice writing in the framework of the course you choose.
I don’t know about you, but I never leave home without my phone. And that means I always have language learning apps right at my fingertips! The portability factor of apps can’t be beat, and even if you download only a dictionary app, you’ve got unlimited vocabulary learning potential with you all the time.
Native speakers are an important resource for learning Italian—or any language, for that matter! Interaction with native speakers offers learners the ability to grasp the cadence of a language. It’s also a great way to learn cultural information. And if you’re speaking with someone on a regular basis, you’ll probably pick up a load of Italian idioms!
Learning Italian shouldn’t be a grind. I mean it—learning this fabulous language should be fun. When I was a beginner learner, I looked for all kinds of materials that would turn grammar, vocabulary and all the rest of it into a game.
That’s right, examine your entertainment options and incorporate as many as possible into this language program. Take it from me: When you’re grinning over a joke or singing along in Italian, you don’t feel as if you’re studying. You’re living the language—and that’s just plain fun!
Your Italian language program will also benefit if you add a couple of tried-and-true “old school” supplies to your learning toolbox. Think about the items that you used when you were learning to speak, read, understand and write in your native language. Remember flashcards and vocabulary lists? They worked for your first language and they’ll work with your second (or third!), too!
Books and journals are two more fantastic language resources. When I’m able to read and write—even at a very basic level—in a target language, I really begin to feel like a participant in the language and culture.
Reading in Italian improves comprehension, builds vocabulary and is a great alternative to just dreaming of learning the language. And journals? They give learners the writing practice that’s so often overlooked by many learning resources.
We’ve gathered some of the best resources under each of these Italian learning tool types to help you get started with learning from the best of the best. Read on to start building your language skills!
30+ Italian Learning Tools to Fill Your Toolbox with Knowledge
Italian Learning Courses
An excellent course is the foundation of an Italian language learning expedition. Here are some of our favorites.
Pimsleur is a highly recognizable name in the language-learning world—and there’s a good reason for that. The Pimsleur Method has been around for a while and has taught many people to speak many languages.
The method was developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur who realized that people learn rapidly when they hear and use a target language in everyday situations. Kind of like how we acquire our native tongue, isn’t it?
With this method, there are no long vocabulary lists to memorize. Words and phrases recur during lessons that build upon each other. The method focuses on core vocabulary so learners can listen, understand and respond to basic conversational dialogues.
I’ve used the Pimsleur Method to learn a language. I have to admit, it wasn’t really dynamic or wildly exciting but it did, indeed, get the job done. I learned to speak, write and read at about an intermediate level in a language that I had absolutely no prior experience with.
So, if you’re looking to do that with Italian, I can say from experience that it’s highly probable this course will be beneficial.
FluentU is more than just a language course—it’s Italian immersion, online!
Using curated content from around the world, this program brings language alive. Real-life videos, native speakers and timely, relevant and interesting material makes this an option that feels like pure entertainment.
But don’t be fooled; this is the way to full-on learn. We absorbed our native languages through listening and responding to native speakers. FluentU does that same thing by bringing these speakers to you!
The program makes authentic content like inspirational talks, music videos, news clips and more accessible to any level learner. All videos are subtitled and translated using interactive captions that provide meanings for every word and expression.
Unsure of a word? Click on it to see an in-context definition. Example sentences are provided as well, so learners are able to quickly establish the meanings of unfamiliar words and phrases.
Flashcards make it easy to create vocabulary lists, while quizzes track your progress and offer suggestions and questions based on what you’ve already learned.
You can use FluentU in your browser or download the iOS or Android app for on-the-go learning!
Michel Thomas is a well-known name among language learners. He spent the last part of his life traveling the globe, teaching languages and fostering communication on a worldwide platform.
His method stresses excitement over learning. He spoke 10 languages and thought that as long as learners relaxed and enjoyed the process of mastering a new language, they’d be successful.
The Michel Thomas method offers seven Italian courses, ranging from a beginner level right on up to an intermediate level. There’s also a course devoted entirely to vocabulary.
The courses feel like you’re sitting one-on-one with a teacher and offer chances for you to interact with the language in a way that builds your skills and confidence.
Busuu is a global community of learners that enables you to connect with fellow learners and with native speakers. Using lessons, study plans, quizzes, goals and speech recognition software, you can study Italian at your own pace and in your own time.
Writing exercises and spoken lessons garner instant feedback from this worldwide learning group. Due to the interactive nature of this program, it’s possible for learners to help other learners!
Open University is an excellent spot for grabbing a free course—or a couple! Their content covers a lot of topics. Luckily for Italian language learners, there are a variety of Italian courses that are absolutely free to take.
All level learners will be accommodated by Open University. A beginner’s course in food and drink, an intermediate Italian class and a course about how to describe people are among the options available to learners here.
Courses consist of various learning material including text explanations, audio and even a chance to record yourself and check your pronunciation against a native’s!
Udemy is a learner’s paradise! With over 100,000 online courses available, there truly is something for nearly every learner.
Purchasing a course provides lifetime access to that course. It means that learners can tailor a program to their schedule rather than having to adhere to a pre-determined course schedule. Bonus? With lifetime access, reviewing materials is a snap. No matter how much time passes, you’ll have the capability of looking over the course again!
Udemy Italian courses vary in their levels, pricing and topics. There are beginner’s courses, travel courses, quick-learn and brief courses, intermediate courses and more. Udemy coursework covers all stages of Italian learning!
Italian Learning Apps
Apps are Italian learning tools that provide instant language practice. What’s not to love about that?
Here are a few good ones to get you started.
This vocabulary builder covers beginner to advanced levels. With games, native speakers to model pronunciation and more than 6,000 words, it’s definitely worth keeping nearby!
Google Translate is a must-have app for many language learners. This translation app will never leave you wondering about an Italian word or phrase.
It translates text in more than one way: Users can type text, translate the writing on an image using the camera translation feature or handwrite text rather than typing it. It can also use a microphone to pick up spoken conversations—and then translate the conversations!
It may not always be completely accurate, but it’s very handy to have for when you need a quick translation or want to communicate a thought across.
Interaction with Native Italian Speakers
When you’re ready to step up and hone your conversational skills, consider interacting with native Italian speakers. You don’t need to move to Italy to do this—technology brings this option to you, wherever you are!
Tandem brings speakers together through an app that allows users to communicate in their own languages. It’s ideal for practicing pronunciation, picking up idioms and interesting vocabulary and acquiring cultural information.
Getting to know, speaking with and listening to a native Italian speaker brings so much to a language program!
RhinoSpike is a tool that puts learners in contact with native Italian speakers.
The website’s native Italian members will read any Italian language text aloud! Just submit some text, request the audio translation, then wait for the Italian version to come straight to you.
It’s an excellent way to learn correct pronunciation and to get a specific Italian version of a text that might be personally meaningful.
You can also return the favor by recording a requested pronunciation in your own native language. Everybody wins!
Italian Language Entertainment
Learning to speak Italian should be fun!
Adding entertainment options brings that extra bit of excitement to your language program. Just incorporating one or two is enough to give any program some flair!
- Just hanging around the house? Why not tune into RAI Italy to hear the latest Italian radio stories?
- If you’ve got a free evening, Fandor can provide some options for intriguing Italian films. Add some cultural nuances to your program watching movies set in beautiful Italy.
- Raiplay is the spot for Italian television. From sporting events, to news headlines, to sitcoms and much more, Raiplay delivers. I watch this regularly!
- La Repubblica is another popular television option. World news, economics and Italian headlines are all represented well here!
I wasn’t aware until recently that Netflix is the ideal resource for online streaming of Italian entertainment. Many of us already subscribe to the service; why not use it to enhance Italian learning? It’s entertaining and there are options in many genres, so there’s something for everyone.
One popular, albeit gritty, native Italian series to check out is “Gomorra.” It’s about the Italian crime scene and is intended for mature audiences but it’s also a great way to learn authentic language and even pick up some slang.
To access more Italian Netflix content, just type “Italian TV shows” or “Italian movies” into the search bar. All listings pop up; browse until you find something that piques your interest. Then grab the popcorn and learn!
Italian Social Media
An Italian learning program can incorporate social media into its resources. That’s right—there are Facebook pages that actually help language learners. And there’s no need to feel guilty for spending time perusing these posts!
- Lean in Italy covers many topics, providing links to articles that will enlighten, inspire and teach.
- Learn Italian focuses on teaching Italian. Every post showcases a topic, from beach vocabulary to grammar and much more. Beginning learners will benefit greatly from checking this one out!
- Sarah’s Scribbles Italia is absolutely charming! Prepare to get hooked on the clever comic strip characters featured here.
- Al.ta Cucina will go straight to any foodie’s heart. The page is devoted to Italian cooking, complete with recipes and mouth-watering photos. I’ve used a couple of these recipes and each one was fantastic!
“Old School” Italian Learning Tools
Teachers still use flashcards, vocabulary lists, pronunciation guides and dictionaries to teach languages in school. These tools work for learning native languages and they’re beneficial when taking on a second language, too.
Add some of these to your Italian learning toolbox!
- Collins Italian Dictionary is a staple for translations. But the site does more than serve as a dictionary! There are articles about communication issues, lists of trending words and grammar tips, as well.
- Online Italian Club has excellent vocabulary lists. You can use them to make flashcards, too.
- YouTube videos highlighting vocabulary lists can be very useful to language learners! This solid beginner’s list provides interesting viewing.
- Saber Italiano (Know Italian) provides vocabulary lists by subject. The subjects covered are extensive, including topics like politics, professions, sports and clothing.
Italian Learning Journals and Books
Keeping a journal in Italian might sound daunting but trust me, it’s not as hard as it sounds. In fact, it’s a great method for ramping up your Italian thinking and writing skills. You’ll be surprised by how much you can actually write, if you give yourself the chance.
Keep a dictionary nearby to look up words. Take your time. Express yourself in short sentences, if that’s what works best for you. A journal is your place to jot down thoughts and feelings—and no one says they need to be expansive!
I’ve kept an Italian journal for years and have noticed that my writing skills have gotten so much stronger. It’s a fun part of my language journey.
- This video on how to bullet journal for language learning is very helpful. Wondering how to begin your journal? Take a peek to get some useful ideas!
- Writing stories in Italian is also a method for refining your writing skills. Start simply, writing either short stories or with children’s stories. Some tips for writing in a second language can get this literary ball rolling!
- If you’d rather read than write, Amazon is a wonderful resource for Italian language books! Whatever your reading taste, you’re sure to find a book to suit you!
Italian Learning Audiobooks
Who doesn’t love being read to? Virtually no one, that’s who!
Audiobooks are the next best thing to having a personal reader. There are both audiobook courses and sheer enjoyment reading available in this format.
Want some advice for using audiobooks in your Italian language program? Start with basic books, even with children’s books if you’re an absolute beginner. As your proficiency in the language grows, so, too, will your reading level.
Our favorites are below!
“Jemima Puddle-Duck ed altre storie” (“Jemima Puddle-Duck and Other Stories”) by Beatrix Potter
This child’s classic isn’t just for children! The enchanting tale sounds almost like a lullaby in Italian and the simple storyline is the perfect way to get a bit of listening practice in.
“Learn Beginner Italian Bundle: Lessons 1 to 30 Learning Italian Like Crazy” by Patrick Jackson
If you’re looking for an actual audiobook course, this one will prime beginners for further learning. With 30 lessons, it’s more than a minimal course. You’ll learn the basics but it goes beyond counting and days of the week.
Expect to be proficient in verb conjugation and confident enough to carry on a conversation in Italian by the end of this audiobook course.
Additionally, there’s a PDF file that comes with the audiobook as a download. It’s a transcript of every lesson, so you’ll be able to hear and read all the material.
“Italian Vocabulary Builder: 2222 Italian Phrases to Learn Italian and Grow Your Vocabulary” by Lingo Mastery
This is a clear, concise audiobook devoted to vocabulary building. Listening to useful phrases and increasing communication skills while relaxing sounds like a language learner’s dream!
Bedtime stories can be enjoyed by all ages. What better way to wind down after a busy day than by listening to a delightful tale—or two?
Classic stories and more modern tales are available to listeners. The website is entirely in Italian so it may be a bit difficult for beginners to navigate.
Italian learning tools make the learning process easier and more enjoyable!
Grab some of these excellent resources to properly equip your Italian language toolbox. Soon, you’ll be so ready to chat it up in Italian that you might just grab your passport and head out on a grand adventure.
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