If learning Italian required moving to Sicily, we’d all be on that beautiful island.
Not that we’d mind! But some of us have jobs and families that we simply can’t get up and leave.
In fact, you might not want to leave the house at all.
If that’s the case, we have some great news for you: You can learn Italian without ever leaving home.
The secret is to use every part of the house.
That means you’ll rock language lessons in your office, sing and dance to music in the bedroom, play language games in the living room and taste-test new recipes in the kitchen.
Bring Italian language learning to every part of your life!
In-person resources become indispensable as you delve deeper into the language, but to start with, all you need are some important language-learning tools.
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
Requirements for Solo Language Learning
Make no mistake: learning Italian on your own isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t for everyone. Solo learning requires a few crucial elements.
- The most important element is your mindset. You’ll need determination and discipline to stick to a language program on your own, without a teacher pushing you to meet deadlines.
- You’ll have to adjust your schedule. After all, you’ll need to make room for your new language program! Decide how many hours you’ll give the endeavor and clear space on your calendar for the Italian fun to begin.
- You’ll need a plan. We strongly recommend that you formulate a plan before you start learning. What’s your Italian learning goal? Is there a time frame? Make a list of (realistic and reasonable) steps you’ll need to take to reach your goals.
Now pull up your PJs, put on your language-learning tool belt and prepare to fill it with some awesome tools for learning Italian at home.
Learn Italian at Home with 8 Irreplaceable Tools
Let’s assume you’ve got a wonderfully determined learner’s mindset—which is actually the most valuable facet of any program—your schedule is clear and you have some realistic goals in mind.
Gather your tools!
Any important adventure requires the right tools to get the job done. Here are the tools you’ll need to build the Italian language to fulfill your goals as well as some recommendations for each. Let’s learn!
1. Italian Courses
There are a lot of language courses out there but you’ll want to find one that you can do on your own time, so you can fit it into any schedule.
In addition to flexibility, look for a course that suits your budget, provides the opportunity to level up, uses authentic content and is wonderfully engaging.
That last point is important. Some classes are sleepers—and that leads to learners giving up. So if your course is interesting, chances are you’ll stick around and learn.
To that end, here are some fun, motivating courses!
FluentU offers learners the chance to experience Italian language immersion online.
The material is geared toward all levels of learners. There are interactive captions (they’re translated and subtitled, too!) and definitions on demand (click on any unfamiliar words to see in-context definitions) so learning is facilitated at every stage of the game.
Video flashcards and adaptive quizzes complete the program for a well-rounded learning experience.
This program works really well for motivated learners but the content is so engaging that it draws in even those who require a bit more of a pull. It’s nearly impossible to resist these authentic videos!
BBC Italian is an archived learning site. That means content is no longer updated—but the content already found on the site is incredibly useful! There’s honestly so much content on these language pages that any learner could stay quite busy for a good, long time.
If you’re wondering whether you’re an absolute beginner, somewhat fluent or even somewhere in the middle, there’s an aptitude test to get your program started.
Vocabulary and grammar video lessons, as well as an interactive video drama series called “La Mappa Misteriosa” (“The Mysterious Map”), get you hooked on learning.
BBC Italian is absolutely free to access and use.
Rosetta Stone’s sequenced, immersive program take Italian learners from basic to advanced using speech-recognition software.
Lessons are available either online or off, making this a fully mobile learning option.
Although it’s not free, you can choose to purchase the program through a subscription, to download it or to own it on discs. Whichever method you use, the same high-quality program will bring Italian to life!
Have a competitive streak? Like to see instant rewards? Prefer your learning in small, fun increments? If so, Duolingo is a great online course for you to get your Italian language groove on.
Language is taught through game-like lessons that instantly show your results. Each lesson is just a few minutes long and you can repeat any lesson if you need to.
The app is free and you’ll love the app’s little owl mascot, Duo, who shows up quite often to cheer learners on!
2. Translation Apps
Every language learner should have a great translator. Find your favorite Italian translation app and get learning! Here’s one of our favorites:
This widely used translation app has super reviews and gets the job done at every level.
You can look up single words or entire sentences. Snap a picture of an unfamiliar Italian phrase (like a sign or in a book you’re reading) to instantly see the translation. You can even download the Italian dictionary for easy access to translations offline.
Try it out or browse around for one that better suits your needs.
3. Reading Materials
Reading should be part of every language learning journey.
Since we’re bringing Italian to every corner of your home, leave some Italian books in your favorite reading nooks.
You can read on a lazy afternoon in a porch swing or in bed before you turn in, it’s your choice. Just read!
Below are some wonderful resources for buying Italian books.
A book for everyone
The Italian Bookshop has lots of reading levels and genres to choose from and Online Italian Club has a great assortment of easy Italian readers.
Fun Italian reading options
If reading novels isn’t your thing, why not try Italian comic books? They’re colorful, fun and fast reading.
Anything that brings fun language learning to your home is a good thing. Try “Asterix e I Pitti” (“Asterix and Pitti”), a classic comic book beloved by all ages and perfect for learners.
Add speaking practice to your reading
This is a good place to mention that speaking should be part of your language program.
Reading aloud is a great way to practice pronunciation, get a feel for the tempo of the language and gain confidence.
You can check your pronunciation and boost your speed with Italian audiobooks that have companion texts—simply record yourself reading a passage, then listen to the official audiobook recording followed by your own audio. You’ll be able to pinpoint errors easier when you have something to compare your reading to.
So read and speak—and gain proficiency in two key facets of language learning!
The basis of every language is the vocabulary. And one of the best ways to drill those new words into your long-term memory is through the repetition of flashcards.
These websites provide free Italian flashcards. Use one or both to give you a solid core vocabulary!
You’ll find hundreds of free flashcards on this resource (no sign-in required!), in themed decks from the specific (like numbers and foods) to the more abstract (like -ere verbs and various chapters from specific textbooks).
You’re not limited to flashcards, either: Test yourself with matching games, hangman, crossword puzzles and more.
This is a great resource for anyone trying to get a solid knowledge of verbs, with many flashcards available in decks which you can access by just scrolling down.
The page may take a little while to load, as all the flashcards are located on this single page—it’s worth the wait!
5. Writing Ideas
Now that you have all that vocabulary in your toolbelt, it’s time to put it to use. Give yourself a refresher on Italian sentence structure and get writing.
Learning Italian on your own at home gives you lots of opportunities for writing practice.
Wondering how to make that happen? Here are two excellent methods:
Notes, notes and more notes
Think grocery lists, to-do lists and notes to yourself. Write them in Italian.
The books you’re reading? Take notes on them—in Italian.
Start a blog
If you’re really adventurous and feel confident in your writing abilities, start a blog. It doesn’t need to be entirely in Italian but should be at least partly in Italian to power up your Italian writing skills.
If you need to see how it’s done, check out “Studentessa Matta” (“Crazy Student”)—it’s an entertaining mix of English and Italian that may just inspire you to write your own blog!
Even more writing ideas
Keep a diary. Write an Italian review of the last book you read. Label your house with sticky notes. Log on to social media in Italian.
Or check out even more unconventional Italian writing practice ideas!
Learning can be super fun—especially when you add some fast-paced games to your home program.
There’s no guilt associated with game playing for learning, either! These aren’t time-wasters; they’re language-elevating tools!
For a wide array of game options, try this site. It’s targeted at young learners but is beneficial to any language learner, especially one who’s in the early stages of a language.
Many of the games are basic but they provide lots of useful information. For instance, this explanation of puzzle shapes offers vocabulary that isn’t always in a beginner’s vocabulary list.
Saber Italiano (Italian Hangman) is the same well-loved, time-honored game we love—except in Italian. There are many topics to choose from but whatever the subject, the rules are the same: Guess the vocabulary before the Hangman’s noose tightens!
Most of us stream tunes while we’re relaxing, getting things done around the house or just hanging out with friends.
The good news is that we can turn that ordinary activity into an Italian language experience that’ll entertain while it teaches!
Remember to sing along! Practice pronunciation, get the cadence of the language under your belt and have fun!
Thousands of free Italian songs
Italy puts 200,000 Italian songs online for free. That’s right—they make their music available to everyone, everywhere. Canzone Italiana offers even more oldies but goodies from Italy’s musical history.
With these two resources, you’ll be able to fill your home with Italian music!
8. Kitchen Skills
For many Italians, the heart of a home is the kitchen, so what better place to practice your Italian?
Make your kitchen part of your language program by using Italian recipes when you cook!
Reading recipes increases your vocabulary and comprehension skills adds to an immersive atmosphere and has an added benefit of providing a delicious meal. Here’s one resource to fill your kitchen with the smells (and language) of Italy:
This website showcases cooking videos in Italian of traditional Italian cuisine, with side-by-side English-Italian translations. Cooking doesn’t get easier than that!
Learning Italian in Sicily is a great idea. No, it’s a stupendous idea!
But, it’s not always possible to drop everything and go to Italy, is it?
The next best thing to heading to Italy is at-home learning. So bring Italy to your doorstep learn some Italian without ever leaving home!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos.