mickey-mouse-cartoon

8 Italian Cartoons to Help You Learn Italian

Learning Italian doesn’t have to be all about putting your nose to the grindstone (or in your Italian-English Dictionary). You can have fun with it, too!

One way to do this is to try watching Italian cartoons.

They aren’t as hard to follow as drama series, comedies or news broadcasts, so even if you’re a beginner at Italian, you can still benefit from watching them.

Here are eight of the best Italian cartoons to add to your watch list, plus some useful information on why and where to watch them.

Contents


Italian Cartoon Series

“Benornato Topo Gigio” (Welcome Back, Topo Gigio)

Benornato-Topo-Gigio-Italian-cartoon

Where to watch: YouTube or Dailymotion

Bentortato Topo Gigio,” or “Welcome Back, Topo Gigio,” is an Italian language anime cartoon from the late 1980s. It was made through a collaboration between Japanese artists and Italian voice actors.

The cartoon features a talking mouse astronaut who returns to Earth from the future. He’s adopted by a little girl named Gina and the two go on various fun, adorable adventures.

“Lupo Alberto” (Albert the Wolf)

Lupo-Alberto-Italian-cartoon

Where to watch: YouTube or Dailymotion

Based on a comic strip created by Guido Silvestri in 1974, Lupo Alberto is a blue wolf who lives on a farm with a large cast of strange and eccentric barnyard companions.

Alberto spends his days quarreling with his “nemesis” (a sheepdog named Mosè), as he tries to run away with Marta, a yellow hen who also just so happens to be his girlfriend.

“Zorro: La leggenda” (Zorro: The Legend)

Zorro-cartoon

Where to watch: Rai Gulp

If you’re a fan of the old American Zorro movies, you’ll love “Zorro: La leggenda.” Vain rich boy by day and mask-wearing, sword-fighting hero by night, Zorro combats injustice wherever he finds it.

This show is full of adventure and suspense, perfect for keeping the attention of even the most grown-up of cartoon viewers.

“Le nuove avventure di Pinocchio” (The New Adventures of Pinocchio)

Pinocchio-Italian-cartoon

Where to watch: YouTube or Dailymotion

Pinocchio is hugely popular in Italy (especially in Florence) because he was created there in 1883 by children’s book writer Carlo Collodi.

This 1972 series tells the classic tale of the puppet whose nose grew when he told a lie, and whose only goal in life was to become a real boy.

“Il formidabile mondo di Bo” (Bo on the Go)

Il-formidabile-mondo-di-Bo-Italian-cartoon

Where to watch: YouTube

Translated into English as “Bo on the Go,” “Il formidabile mondo di Bo” (which really means something more like “The Wonderful World of Bo”), is a cartoon about an enthusiastic little girl with blue hair, who solves various educational puzzles with her best friend, a cute little dragon named Dezzy.

Similar to America’s Dora the Explorer, Bo spends a lot of time talking to the viewer, which gives you the chance to work on your vocabulary and comprehension skills when she asks you questions to help her solve her puzzles.

“Looney Toons”

Looney-toons-cartoon

Where to watch: YouTube

Do you miss Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Yosemite Sam from your childhood? Well, you can find them all over again by watching “Looney Toons” in Italian.

These cartoons are timeless and just as entertaining as they were in English. There’s something about watching Elmer Fudd speak to Bugs Bunny in italiano that makes the whole thing that much funnier.

“Peanuts”

Peanuts-cartoon

Where to watch: Rai Gulp

Although it began in 2014, this series is just as faithful to good ol’ Charlie Brown as Snoopy is. Following the adventures of Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and all those other familiar faces, this cartoon is short and sweet.

Each episode tops out at around seven minutes long, making it perfect for Italian language learners who do not have a lot of free time on their hands.

“Topolino” (Mickey Mouse)

mickey-mouse-cartoon

Where to watch: YouTube

Recapture your youth with Topolino (Mickey Mouse), Topolina (Minnie Mouse), Paperino (Donald Duck) and Pluto by rewatching old episodes or exploring new ones with these same well-known characters. 

There have been so many different versions of Mickey Mouse over the years, providing an abundance of options with various levels of complexity.

Why Learn Italian with Cartoons?

There are many benefits to learning Italian with cartoons, apart from them being fun to watch. 

  • They use simpler language. The language is much simpler than in other TV shows because it’s geared toward children. They rarely use more complex words without an explanation or a clear visual representation, which is exactly what an Italian language learner needs to absorb new vocabulary!
  • It’s a natural way to learn. Watching Italian cartoons is one of the ways that young Italians learn to speak Italian in the first place. So when you watch them, you’re learning Italian in a natural, immersive way similar to how Italian children learn the language. 
  • They’re educational. Not only do Italian cartoons help kids improve their language skills, but they also teach them about science, math, reading and many other important subjects. By watching Italian cartoons as an adult, you can learn more about Italian culture and how they teach various subjects. 
  • The lessons stick with you. Anyone who’s ever seen an animated Disney movie knows that cartoons are notorious for being catchy. The visuals, the lines of dialogue and the songs stick in your head. This helps you retain the lessons and vocabulary you learned while you were watching.
  • They’re short and sweet. If you don’t have the time or attention span to watch longer dramas or comedy shows, cartoons are a great way to still get in some language practice. They’re usually only 5 to 20 minutes long so you can fit them into your busy schedule.
  • They boost your mood. No matter how old you are, it’s hard not to be charmed by the bright colors and the cheerful atmosphere of a cartoon. Cartoons put you in a good mood and can help you feel good about your language-learning skills, motivating you to work on them even more.

Types of Italian Cartoons

There are three main types of Italian cartoons that can be especially helpful for language learning. 

  • Italy’s classic cartoons are, in most cases, the same classic cartoons we grew up watching in English in America, but translated into Italian. This is a good choice if you want to watch something familiar so you can follow along with the story while picking up new language. 
  • Educational cartoons are, as the name suggests, cartoons meant to teach children something. Usually, the cartoon characters explain concepts such as spelling, reading, science or math in a way that’s easy to understand. These cartoons will teach you key skills and useful vocabulary like numbers and letters.
  • While most cartoons are very short, you can also find full-length animated features in Italian. You can watch the classics like Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” translated into Italian, or find an interesting Italian original. These cartoons have more time to develop their stories, creating a more immersive (and emotional) experience for you.

Where to Watch Italian Cartoons

Luckily, Italian cartoons are fairly easy to find on the internet. Here are some of the best places to look for them.

  • Rai Gulp is the number one television network in Italy. It has an entire channel devoted to children’s shows and cartoons. Not all of the shows are available to watch in the U.S., but plenty are. 
  • Dailymotion is another website where you can find many different cartoons and other series in a variety of languages, including Italian. Here you can find some of the older cartoons in higher quality than you might be able to find on YouTube or elsewhere.
  • Netflix is also a great place to find Italian cartoons. It has an international section where you can find original Italian cartoons, or you can simply change the language setting on many cartoons and animated movies so that they’re dubbed or subtitled in Italian. 

 

Keep in mind that these are just eight of the hundreds of possible Italian cartoons you could watch to improve your Italian. 

No matter what you decide to watch, there’s one thing that’s certain: learning Italian can be child’s play if you do it by watching cartoons!

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