15 Most Addictive Italian TV Shows (Updated for 2022)
So, you’re an Italian media hound: you watch all the best Italian YouTube videos, listen to all the best Italian songs and spend your movie nights watching Italian films.
But what about Italian TV shows?
In this post, we’ll share our favorite shows that’ll have you hooked from the get-go.
We’re pretty experienced when it comes to authentic language media—we’ve spent over ten years building language apps around it, and have watched more than our fair share of Italian TV in that time.
Whether you’re looking for something that’ll make you laugh, cry or sweat (or all of the above), we’ve gathered a list of the most interesting and addictive Italian TV shows that you can start watching today.
Let’s dive in!
- 1. “Summertime”
- 2. “L’Amica Geniale” (My Brilliant Friend)
- 3. “Un Medico in Famiglia” (A Doctor in the Family)
- 4. “Suburra: Blood on Rome”
- 5. “Il Commissario Montalbano” (Detective Montalbano)
- 6. “Curon”
- 7. “L’allieva” (The Pupil)
- 8. “Fedeltà” (Devotion, a Story of Love and Desire)
- 9. “Catturandi”
- 10. First Team: Juventus
- 11. “Come Fai Sbagli” (How to Do Wrong)
- 12. “Luna Nera” (Black Moon)
- 13. “Il Miracolo” (The Miracle)
- 14. “Zio Gianni” (Uncle John)
- 15. “Baby”
- How to Productively Learn Italian with TV Shows
Watch on: Netflix
Summary: Hinted at in the title, this series is set in the summertime on the Adriatic Coast of Italy and follows two very different young adults as they fall in love.
Inspired by a book series by Federico Moccia, “Summertime” follows young Alessandro and Summer, who come from very different backgrounds, as sparks fly and they inevitably fall in love. It’s a pretty relatable show as many of the problems they face are universally experienced by young people, and you might even find yourself feeling a bit nostalgic.
The show will also make you want to pack your bags and head to Italy for the summer! The scenery and cinematography are excellent, and a faithful representation of summertime in the Riviera.
While not necessarily an intellectually stimulating series, the simplicity is part of what makes it so light and easy to watch.
If you’re learning Italian: If you’re after a relatively simple series to learn from, the plot and language used are quite straightforward. You’ll also learn a bit about flirting in Italian!
2. “L’Amica Geniale” (My Brilliant Friend)
Watch on: Rai Play, HBO
Summary: “L’Amica Geniale” retells the friendship—and conflict—of two girls who met at a young age.
When elderly Elena Greco discovers that her dearest friend Raffaella “Lila” Cerullo has disappeared, she recounts the story of their friendship which began in a poor area of Naples in the 1950s.
The coming-of-age drama, based on a book series by Elena Ferrante, is addictive and very moving. It’s engaging while also being beautifully shot, and you’ll probably find yourself thinking about this masterpiece whenever you’re not watching it!
If you’re learning Italian: This series will make you forget that you’re even studying, so take advantage of its addictiveness to get some good learning done. There is even a trailer for the book series on the language learning program FluentU, where you can use the learning aids to gain a deeper understanding of the language used.
Exposing yourself to authentic Italian content like “L’Amica Geniale” is an excellent way of learning, as you’re able to pick up nuances that you won’t find in textbooks, resulting in more natural pronunciation, better vocabulary knowledge and sharper listening comprehension as a result.
Watching these TV shows can be tedious when you have to constantly pause and look up translations, but FluentU makes learning seamless and efficient by guiding you through language tools.
Its short, authentic videos—covering everything from news reports to movie trailers to inspiring talks—all come complete with interactive subtitles and dual-language transcripts, which you just tap to find contextual information about any word or phrase.
You can use the video dictionary to look up any new terms you come across, and test your progress with personalized quizzes.
FluentU is also available as iOS and Android apps, making it easy to watch (and learn from) the videos when you’re out and about.
3. “Un Medico in Famiglia” (A Doctor in the Family)
Where to watch: Rai Play
Summary: One of the most famous Italian TV shows, it follows a doctor who grapples with work-life balance after losing his wife.
Lele, the widowed doctor, moves to a small town in order to start a new life with his father and three children. The kids are all very different and you can count on something funny happening to at least one of them in every episode!
Though it’s a comedy there are some dramatic moments, making for a show that’s easy to watch for hours on end—in fact, there are around 250 episodes to keep you occupied!
If you’re learning Italian: As they’re the main themes of the show, you’ll be able to brush up on your Italian vocabulary related to medicine and day-to-day family life.
4. “Suburra: Blood on Rome”
Watch on: Netflix
Summary: “Suburra” centers on organized crime and Italian politics, and it follows an Italian MP (Member of Parliament) who gets tied up in mafia happenings, drugs, gambling, politics, violence and the Vatican.
It’s based on an Italian neo-noir film, which in turn is based on a novel by Carlo Bonini and Giancarlo De Cataldo.
It’s an intense and wild ride and, needless to say, it’s super addictive.
Furthermore, the TV show itself is filmed in Rome, mainly along the waterfront, and the cinematography is guaranteed to be awesome. The scenes go from the beautiful streets of Italian cities to breathtaking mountain and ocean views, so when you’re not immersed in the plot, you’ll be wowed by the scenery.
If you’re learning Italian: It’s a great way to hear some useful (and sometimes risque) Italian language related to politics, crime and (gasp!) even murder.
5. “Il Commissario Montalbano” (Detective Montalbano)
Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Rai Play
Summary: “Il Commissario Montalbano” follows Detective Montalbano as he solves crimes in Sicily.
This crime series is based on Andrea Camilleri’s novels and is set in the fictional town of Vigàta, Sicily. Detective Montalbano is very committed to solving crimes for his town, even at the cost of his personal life.
There are plenty of interesting supporting characters, and you find yourself becoming quite invested in their roles. They play Sicilians so well that it often seems real!
With doses of romance, drama, mystery, and humor, balanced with stunning scenery, “Il Commissario Montalbano” will leave you wanting more.
If you’re learning Italian: Of course, you’ll learn lots of vocabulary related to crime, and also expose yourself to the Sicilian accent and their different slang words.
Where to watch: Netflix
Summary: A mother and her teenage twins return home to her seemingly tranquil village. After the mother mysteriously vanishes, the twins uncover some dark secrets.
“Curon” is set in Northern Italy, in a small town situated next to an eerily dark lake with a submerged bell tower—a nicely creepy setting for a mystery thriller. While a bit slow to start, the series is full of drama and the dynamic between the twins makes for a compelling watch.
If you’re learning Italian: It might pay to watch with Italian subtitles, as your adrenaline might interfere with your study concentration!
7. “L’allieva” (The Pupil)
Watch on: Rai Play
Summary: “L’allieva” follows a medical student who decides to pursue legal medicine.
If you’re a fan of medical dramas like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Saving Hope,” the Italian TV show “L’allieva“ should be right up your alley.
Alice Allevi has no idea what the future holds for her or even if she wants to continue on as a medical student. After the death of her nonna’s caregiver, however, Alice decides she wants to go into legal medicine—an interesting and, of course, dramatic field.
Long story short, Alice falls for a doctor at the institute where she’s studying but she also falls for Arthur, a fellow student. As you can probably guess, more drama ensues.
While this show can at times be lighthearted, it can also be a tear-jerker (like most medical dramas are).
If you’re learning Italian: It gives great glimpses into vocabulary that’s used not only in domestic life but also in the medical and legal fields. Get your tissues ready!
8. “Fedeltà” (Devotion, a Story of Love and Desire)
Watch on: Netflix
Summary: A married couple, seemingly in love, becomes tempted by extramarital desires.
“Fedeltà” follows Carlo and Margherita as their marriage begins to break down after doubt is cast on Carlo’s faithfulness. From the outside, they appear to be the perfect couple, and while they are very much in love, their relationship isn’t as simple as it looks.
It’s based on Marco Missiroli’s best-selling book and raises some potentially uncomfortable ideas around fidelity—in fact, that’s what fedeltà actually translates to.
If you’re learning Italian: Another pretty straightforward storyline means that the language used isn’t too complex. You’ll learn a lot of vocabulary around relationships—and exposure to arguing in Italian, which may come in handy!
Watch on: Rai Play
Summary: “Catturandi” is the story of a woman, Palma Toscano, who works as a special agent for a police division hunting for an infamous mafia member, Natale Sciacca.
Employment and love intertwine again in this gripping show. Palma must face her past and most notably, the death of her father at the hands of the mafia. She must also face her own heart as she falls for the same people who she’s meant to arrest: members of the mafia. Love ensues, but so does drama in this intense TV show.
If you’re learning Italian: It’s a great option for learning political vocabulary and police lingo in Italian.
Furthermore, the actors use various levels of formality when they’re speaking depending on whether they’re talking to lawyers, judges or the mafia members. This is a great way for learners to hear the differences between formal and informal language in Italian.
10. First Team: Juventus
Where to watch: Netflix
Summary: Follow one of the greatest soccer clubs in Italy while they attempt to win a seventh straight Italian title.
Founded in 1897, Juventus F.C is known throughout Italy—and the whole world. In “First Team: Juventus” you’ll get to know the men beneath the jerseys, beyond what you see on TV.
The cinematography is excellent, with a good mix of training shots, interviews and conferences. It gives you a glimpse of the club’s tradition and history, so even if you’re not a soccer fan you’ll get some interesting cultural knowledge from it!
If you’re watching Italian: As you may expect, you’ll learn a lot of soccer-related vocabulary—pretty important if you want to learn Italian! Also, it’s a great insight into Italian culture and the sport that they hold dear to them.
11. “Come Fai Sbagli” (How to Do Wrong)
Watch on: Rai Play
Summary: A bit like Italy’s answer to “Modern Family,” “Come Fai Sbagli” follows two families as they cope with modern life.
The series is a perfect mixture of humor and drama, and it sums up what it’s like to raise children in today’s day and age, both the positive and negative sides of it.
If you’re a fan of lighthearted sitcoms with the perfect sprinkling of heart, then this show is definitely a good pick for you.
If you’re learning Italian: It’s a great way to see Italian spoken by many demographics: from the parents, the children and even the moody teenagers who, of course, want to distance themselves from their parents as much as possible.
It’s also an excellent resource for informal Italian, idioms and even Italian pop culture knowledge.
12. “Luna Nera” (Black Moon)
Where to watch: Netflix
Summary: A group of women in 17th century Italy are suspected of witchcraft and hunted down.
If witch hunts fascinate you, then “Luna Nera” should be on your watch list. It’s mainly centered on teenager Ade and a family of witches who endure injustice and tragedy (like many women who were accused of being witches in medieval times).
The difference in this series is that they fight back, helped somewhat by the son of the man who’s leading the witch hunt—the same boy who Ade eventually falls for.
This emotional and compelling series will have you captivated (and potentially slightly disturbed by past injustices).
If you’re learning Italian: This is another series that is easy to binge, and therefore easy to get in lots of Italian study! You may want subtitles here when the dialogue can be hard to understand in the midst of all the action.
13. “Il Miracolo” (The Miracle)
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
Summary: A statue of the Virgin Mary is found crying blood, and those trying to solve the mystery begin to lose their minds.
This binge-worthy and original series will leave you with many unanswered questions, but you won’t be mad about it. It hooks you from the first episode after police officers find a Virgin Mary statue that weeps blood—real, human blood.
It brings up the idea of miracles and the existence of God, which have the characters a bit perturbed, and impacts Italy’s politicians and religious leaders forever.
If you’re learning Italian: You may want to have subtitles on and the remote on standby to pause and rewatch some parts, due to the somewhat complicated themes of the series.
14. “Zio Gianni” (Uncle John)
Watch on: Rai Play
Summary: Sort of in the vein of “Two and a Half Men,” “Zio Gianni” follows a man who’s in the midst of a mid-life crisis.
Considering he has no job or wife, winding up without a home is only made worse when he has to move in with three 20-somethings in order to afford a living space.
As predicted, hilarity ensues ranging from great situational humor to just awkward situations between a 50-year-old man and some 20-year-olds.
Even though the show is hilarious, it touches on real issues like love, unemployment, financial instability and the uncertainty of life.
If you’re learning Italian: This show is great for learning the “trendy” language spoken by millennials in Italy. It’s also a great way to learn about the realities of life in Italy in modern times.
Where to watch: Netflix
Summary: Two teenage girls from a wealthy part of Rome search for their identity and independence in the city’s underworld.
If you watched and enjoyed the Spanish series “Élite”, you might find yourself sucked into “Baby”. Just a warning, though: it’s controversial and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. Rich kids Chiara and Ludovica turn to high-end prostitution for money and the thrill of it, delving into a world of drugs and violence.
There has been a pushback on the show due to some saying that it glamorizes underage prostitution, but if you don’t mind that then it makes for a very interesting watch nonetheless.
If you’re learning Italian: With a young cast, you’ll learn very modern Italian—the way it’s spoken by the youth.
How to Productively Learn Italian with TV Shows
While it may seem counter-intuitive, one of the best ways to learn a language is to do what most of us do with television shows: binge-watch til you drop!
So, why am I specifically suggesting that you learn Italian by binging TV shows? Watching Italian TV shows is a great way to hear Italian the way it’s naturally spoken, learn useful slang and informal language and hear vocabulary related to the content of your chosen show.
That’s why binge-watching is uniquely useful to language learning: You’ll hear vocabulary related to the content of the show over and over again, a repetitive method that’s great for helping new words and grammatical constructions stick.
Take that, nay-sayers!
You can’t just play the shows and hope something will stick, though! To really make the most of your Italian TV show study session, keep a list of new words and unfamiliar grammar that you come across in the show you’re watching. Actively watching in this manner will help you understand Italian better, and the list will become a good reference for the future.
Further, you’ll find that as time goes on, you’ll be able to understand spoken Italian better because your ears will get used to the pace of the language from all your TV watching.
Now that you have your options for Italian TV shows to learn with, get out there and binge!
Just make sure you have all your other tasks out of the way first…