“I think we all like to get away from our troubles and worries with a good book.”—Linda Lael Miller
I have a confession to make.
I’m a bibliophile.
I love books. I love reading. I love the incredible feeling of being sucked into a story.
A good book can take readers on adventures they wouldn’t otherwise experience.
Books can entertain. They can break your heart—and put it back together again. They can fill us with laughter, show us all points of the globe and offer the possibility to vicariously live in another time or place.
Another excellent point about books? They’re fabulous resources for language learners!
If you read in Italian, you’ll get to experience all the greatness of good plots, characters and language usage in action.
Even if you’re not a bibliophile, you should consider pulling some Italian novels into your language program.
I hear you thinking. You’re wondering if your current language level is “good enough” for you to benefit from this reading adventure.
No worries! Even if you’ve just started learning, there are some easy Italian novels for beginners you can try reading. And if you’re not quite ready for full-length novels, plenty of Italian literature can act as a stepping stool to get you there.
We have both types of content in this post. So what are we waiting for? Let’s start our Italian reading adventure!
How to Choose the Best Beginner-friendly Italian Novel for You
No matter what level you are, but especially if you’re a beginner, you’ll want to make sure you choose level–appropriate Italian content.
Those listed here are meant to get you started reading novels in Italian and are ideal for beginner-level learners. If you’re want to search for other options, beginners should look for easy, familiar vocabulary that’s just a bit difficult for you. You want to challenge but not discourage yourself. It’s better to start off with easier novels and work your way up a level.
And don’t forget to level up when you’re comfortable. Progress is a good thing!
Another important tip is to find novels in a genre you enjoy. Beginner level Italian novels are available in every genre, so whatever your interest, there are books for you to enjoy! Romance, thriller, drama, whatever you’re into—all at your fingertips!
Reading alone isn’t enough. Keep a notebook and pen handy and take notes as you’re reading. They don’t need to be long and involved, but this extra bit of work will help you with any plot twist or character motivations you might need to remember.
Also, note grammar rules in action. If you’ve been stuck on verb usage or prepositions—or anything else!—seeing the grammar concept used in context is the perfect way to comprehend how it works.
Finally, jot down any new vocabulary that you find intriguing or useful. Then, pair your new vocabulary list with FluentU to make sure the information sticks in your mind.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons, as you can see here:
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.
Consistency is everything! Reading practice is an important part of your Italian language program, so set aside some time to read daily.
But what will you read? Here are eight excellent Italian novels and books for beginners you can dive into right now!
Italian Novels for Beginners: 8 Books to Ease You into Authentic Italian Reading
Start Here: Novel-like Italian Books to Get You Reading
“Eroi e leggende (Storie a fumetti Vol. 47)” (“Heroes and Legends [Comic Stories Vol. 47]”)
Does a novel seem like a stretch? Rather than forgo this adventure, start small! Try a comic book to get your feet wet in the Italian novel pool.
This collection of stories about heroes is fast, fun reading. The well-known Disney characters bring legends alive. The vocabulary is basic and since the tales are so well-known, it’s a snap to figure out what’s going on even if you aren’t familiar with every single word. A great place to begin!
“First Italian Reader: A Dual-language Book”
This first Italian reader isn’t technically a novel but it’s a good place to begin if you’re not much of a reader or if you feel you’re not quite ready for a full-length novel.
The works are classics, short stories from 55 famous authors including Dante, one of Italy’s most renowned writers.
The material hasn’t been simplified from the original work and having a good grasp on some beginner-level grammar is helpful for reading this. However, there are side-by-side translations available, with Italian on one page and English on the next, so even if your skills are limited this is something you can read and understand.
“Il Marchese (The Marquis) Solchi: The Graphic Novel”
This graphic novel is part of a collection of first readers for Italian learners. Designed for mature readers, this is a fast-moving adventure which uses basic vocabulary to convey the illustrated action and dialogue.
The plot is a tale of a marquis who must please a queen—whatever the cost.
Note that the story is described as “lurid” (though it’s also been toned down a bit from the original) so it’s not for the young or faint-of-heart. If you’re not sensitive, though, the content can actually help you remember what you read and learn better: Research has shown that “peculiar” images are easier to remember, so pairing language learning with them can help your studies stick in your mind better.
“Storie della buonanotte per bambine ribelli: 100 vite di donne straordinarie” (“Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Lives of Extraordinary Women”)
Want something purer than the last entry? Intended for children, this incredible collection of stories about 100 inspiring women is a must-read for every age. Malala Yousafzai, Rita Levi Montalcini, Frida Kalo, Serena Williams—and many more!—are all portrayed on these pages.
In any language, this is a wonderful book. Reading it in Italian offers learners the opportunity to learn, grow and be inspired by those world-changing female figures we admire so much.
Dive Right In: Full-length Italian Novels Perfect for Beginners
“The Adventures of Pinocchio: Story of a Puppet”
Most of us are well-acquainted with Disney’s rendition of the classic, “Pinocchio,” but not everyone is aware that there’s more to the story than what appears in the film.
This is the full version of the tale, told in side-by-side English and Italian text.
More than 150 illustrations enhance the storyline, giving readers an in-depth look at the story. Plus, since it’s a story you likely know, it’ll be easier to keep up with the Italian used here.
“Marcovaldo ovvero le stagioni in citta” (“Marcovaldo or the Seasons in the City”)
This charming tale about a man from the city who appreciates nature is for upper beginner level learners. Keep a dictionary handy, refer to it if necessary and enjoy this intriguing tale.
This novel makes readers wonder about the “square peg, round hole” theory. In other words, how does one get by when in a situation not ideally suited for their inherent nature? Marcovaldo and his journey provide one explanation for this complex question!
“Luna d’Inverno” (“Winter Moon”)
“Luna d’Inverno” is a little more advanced than absolute beginner level. It’s closer in level to intermediate and great for a “next step” challenge.
This fast-paced tale of werewolves and family ties has intriguing characters and engaging writing.
An unexpected event puts the pack of wolves in jeopardy—wondering how they’ll handle this new issue is a super way to increase language skills while falling into the story!
“Principe azzurro e dove trovarlo: Tanto rumore per uno stupido ballo di inizio anno” (“Prince Charming and Where to Find Him: A Lot of Noise for a Stupid Ball at the Beginning of the Year”)
This novel is geared toward upper-level beginner or intermediate level learners. It’s a smooth transitional novel for those who want to go to the next level.
The young adult plot centers around a group of students who are trying to form attachments and pair off romantically. Many readers will relate to the characters in this angst-filled tale.And even if you don’t, you’ll have fun keeping up with the events in their lives!
The vocabulary in this novel is a bit more difficult and it’d be beneficial to have a translation app or dictionary handy.
To gain the full benefit of reading novels for beginners in Italian, spend as much time reading as possible. Remember, this reading practice will allow you to reap lots of benefits in other areas of your language learning.
Curl up with a good book and be entertained while you’re learning. What’s not to love about that?
Have fun—and good luck!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos.