learn italian online

Learn Italian Online at Home with 21 Cool Apps, Lessons and More

What is the difference between you and John Bowring, famed British polyglot who claimed to speak 200 languages during his life in the 1800s?

Well, for starters, the methods you use to learn Italian are most certainly vastly different than Mr. Bowring’s!

Aside from the fact that you have access to way more Italian textbooks and Italian movies than this famous historical polyglot ever did, you have something that would be unfathomable during the 19th century: the internet!

The internet has made learning Italian more accessible and I daresay easier than it was, say, 10 to 20 years ago—and definitely easier than Mr. Bowring’s era!

The number one benefit to learning Italian online is that it puts an enormous variety of Italian learning tools at your fingertips.

There are resources for virtually any learning style, method or time commitment. As an added bonus, many Italian learning resources online are available to access for free.

But don’t take my word for it! Let’s explore some of the best online Italian learning tools for ourselves.

 

Online Italian Lessons

1. ielanguages.com Italian
2. One World Italiano
3. ItalianPod101
4. italki
5. Rai Cultura Italiano

Online Italian Video and Audio 

6. FluentU Italian
7. Italian Mastery
8. Learn Italian with Lucrezia
9. Italy Made Easy
10. Coffee Break Italian

Online Practice Materials for Italian Reading, Writing and Grammar 

11. LingQ Italian
12. Online Italian Club
13. iLUSS Italiano Online
14. ToLearnFree
15. WordReference.com
16. Lang-8

Italian Learning Apps

17. Mango Languages
18. Duolingo Italian
19. Memrise Italian
20. Drops
21. Anki

 

1. ielanguages.com Italian

learn italian online

When I first started learning Italian many moons ago—way before the university courses, conversations groups and Netflix subscription—I used ielanguages.com.

ielanguages.com is a website that offers tutorials for dozens of Indo-European languages completely for free.

In fact, the site has more than 50 Italian lessons broken into six units. These lessons build on one another, each getting slightly more advanced than the last, and by the end of the sixth unit, learners will have a good enough basis in Italian grammar and essential vocabulary to follow basic conversations and readings.

Each lesson focuses on a different topic, giving a short explanation, some examples and audio recordings in native Italian. The short explanations are crucial here: they offer enough to get the main idea down, but not too much to overwhelm the learner with tedious details.

The lessons themselves are a mixture of vocabulary and grammar topics. For example, you can find lessons on days of the week, suffixes and relative pronouns as well as tutorials on all the major Italian verb tenses.

ielanguages.com also offers its Italian tutorials as downloadable PDF files.

2. One World Italiano

learn italian online

One World Italiano is a multi-faceted Italian website that is a perfect launching pad for learning multiple Italian skills at once.

It has three different courses for learners of Italian that are completely free.

The first is a complete online course for beginners. The second course is a natural continuation of the beginner’s course, for intermediate learners. It builds on the grammar and vocabulary learned in the first course and it equips learners with the skills needed to be more independent in the language. At the time of this writing, the intermediate course is unfinished, with only six out of 25 lessons available, so this is a better resource for beginners (at least, for now).

These two courses are dialogue-based. That means that they start with an Italian conversation with authentic Italian audio. The courses then work through the grammar and vocabulary presented in the dialogue, and then there is an opportunity for practice.

The third course offered by One World Italiano is a YouTube video course of more than 85 lessons over three levels for beginners. I recommend using this video course in tandem with the other two courses. That will allow you to grow skills in reading, writing and listening simultaneously, and the overlap between the video lessons and other lessons will give you much-needed review.

In addition to these courses, One World Italiano has a large offering of online and video courses for different levels. In addition to general courses, the website also has certificates of language mastery available for completing certain courses, and even has a class on acing the Italian citizenship test.

3. ItalianPod101

learn italian online

ItalianPod101 comes from the famed Pod101 series from Innovative Language.

ItalianPod101 blends video and audio lessons with written explanations. The structure is simple yet extremely effective. Each lesson is based around a video or audio clip that uses a mix of Italian and English. The learning material comes with a corresponding transcript of the Italian words, as well as a translation into English. This is a fantastic way to learn Italian in context as well as to have the support of English if necessary.

There are additional notes following the transcript and translation of the Italian audio or video which include a vocabulary list as well as a more detailed explanation of the material. There are also loads of example sentences as well as native Italian audio that help you really flesh out and understand the topic of the lesson.

One of the main draws of ItalianPod101 is that it is not just one course. On the contrary, ItalianPod101 has multiple “pathways” to choose from, at different levels (though the course is currently very beginner-centric). These allow you to choose what you want to study, like listening comprehension, conversational Italian, core vocabulary words and phrases and more.

You also get access to extensive themed vocabulary lists and flashcard decks for additional study.

As an added bonus, many ItalianPod101 lesson videos are available on YouTube that you can watch without signing up on ItalianPod101’s website.

4. italki

learn italian online

While it sounds like an Apple product, italki is actually a website and app that does language learning differently. In fact, italki does not stylize itself as a language learning course at all: It instead claims to be a language learning social media website.

That is because italki does not offer lessons in a traditional sense. Instead, it is a directory of teachers and tutors of foreign languages. As you can imagine, that includes Italian, and as of July 2021, there are over 880 Italian teachers and community tutors to teach you la bella lingua (the beautiful language).

To use italki, simply sign up and choose Italian as the language you want to learn. From there, you can browser italki’s directory of Italian teachers and community tutors. Each teacher listing comes with a description of their experience and teaching philosophy as well as details about their timing and price points for lessons.

The best part about italki is that many teachers and community tutors offer special discounted rates for trial lessons. This means that you can take an introductory lesson to get a feel for the instructor to decide if they are the right fit for you.

Further, many italki teachers and tutors create their own learning program based on your level in the language, needs and learning goals. This means that you have complete control over your lessons.

Nervous about a particular teacher or tutor? italki also allows you to see reviews of teachers and tutors from previous students so you pick the perfect one for you. Further, you can change teachers or tutors at any time.

5. Rai Cultura Italiano

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This site is in Italian only, so it could be a bit intimidating for some beginners, but it has a lot of great video content that was produced specifically for language learners facing typical situations for foreigners in Italy. To use it, go to the second menu from the left, “Impariamo l’italiano” (Let’s learn Italian), and choose a level and a unit that seems right for you.

When you choose a video of a simulated situation (“Docufiction e sketch”) you’ll get a full text script in the box below the video. There are also exercises for each unit to help you practice the grammar and structures that you’ve learned.

If the site seems bewildering, you may want to ask a teacher or language exchange partner for help in navigating and finding something that’s right for you; there’s a lot of good material that makes it worthwhile, especially at an intermediate level.

Online Italian Video and Audio 

6. FluentU Italian

The reasons why someone studies Italian may be varied, but I think we can all agree that languages are meant to be spoken and listened to.

So what better way to hear Italian spoken than with authentic Italian videos made by native speakers?

learn italian online

Actually, there is something better: authentic Italian videos made by native speakers with accompanying subtitles… and FluentU offers just that!

With FluentU Italian, you can choose video and audio content for virtually any level of Italian and on a myriad of topics. These topics include arts & entertainment, science and sports.

Once you find a video or audio that is at your level and of interest to you, simply watch or listen along. As you do, you have the option to follow along with Italian subtitles and English translations in FluentU’s built-in interface.

Better yet, simply hover over any Italian word for an instant translation into English or click on the word for a more in-depth definition. These definitions do not only include the English translation, but also grammatical information and additional example sentences with corresponding Italian audio.

You can also save any Italian word as a flashcard for later review. In fact, each word comes with a progress bar that increases every time you review the word’s flashcard. This is a fantastic feature for keeping track of what words you know well and which ones need more practice.

7. Italian Mastery

Italian Mastery is a YouTube channel and video course that helps you do just that: master Italian.

It is run by a native Italian speaker, Claudio. He is a teacher and language coach whose goal is to help learners speak Italian so well that native speakers believe the learner is a native speaker, as well. His YouTube video lessons focus on a variety of Italian language skills, and his teaching style is deliberate and clear with helpful visuals and slides to assist the learners.

Even though Italian Mastery is a (currently inactive) YouTube channel, there are two video courses that learners can follow. The first is a beginner course with 67 video lessons, and the second is an intermediate course with 10 lessons. These two courses are sorted into playlists for easy retrieval and a logical order.

Each video includes a tutorial on a topic related to the given level of Italian. This lesson is delivered in both English and Italian, with the usage of Italian increasing as the learner progresses through the video course playlists. The video lessons also include important and topical vocabulary, grammar explanations and example sentences. Of course, pronunciation tips are rampant throughout.

In addition to the course playlists, Italian Mastery also has two other playlists. One is called “Learn Italian,” and it is a more informal video series that looks at common expressions and topics in the Italian language. The other playlist focuses on the Harry Potter book and film series, which uses Harry Potter to teach Italian.

8. Learn Italian with Lucrezia

If you are looking for a YouTube channel that shows how Italian is actually spoken by young adults in Italy, then Learn Italian with Lucrezia is the channel for you. Naturally, this YouTube channel is run by Italian native speaker Lucrezia, a 20-something Italian teacher and vlogger who lives in Italy.

Videos on this YouTube channel can be roughly divided into two categories.

The first features straightforward “learn Italian” videos. These generally focus on the mechanics of the Italian language, mostly through video lessons on grammar or vocabulary topics and Italian culture. These video lessons often include in-depth explanations, topical examples and subtitles in English and Italian.

The second category of videos is all about Lucrezia’s native Italian vlogs and, in my opinion, this is really where the YouTube channel shines. Lucrezia’s all-Italian vlogs are perfect for pre-intermediate to advanced learners of Italian. They are spoken slowly and clearly, completely in Italian, and they show an informal aspect of the language that can be lacking in more academic Italian lessons.

In fact, Lucrezia’s vlogs are a great way to see the Italian language in use by native speakers on multiple topics from travel to work to leisure and even to traditional Italian food. Many of the vlogs also come with subtitles in both English and Italian.

9. Italy Made Easy

This YouTube channel is run by native Italian speaker Manu who works as a translator and teacher. Manu’s videos feature Italian learning tips, lessons and general interest topics related to the Italian language.

The Italian learning videos cover a range of topics, like vocabulary lists and grammar points. Manu teaches everything from how to describe a bedroom to how to properly use prepositions. Other videos discuss Italian food, culture and even Italian books and movies. Each video includes detailed explanations, examples and, of course, native Italian speech.

Plus, videos from Italy Made Easy are sorted into playlists for easy look-up.

Sometimes, Manu does livestreamed Italian lessons. These are Italian lessons that happen on the YouTube platform in real time. Manu chooses a topic and delivers a lesson, and then viewers of the livestream have an opportunity to ask questions and participate in the lessons.

Can’t make a livestream in time? Italy Made Easy keeps these videos on the channel after they have finished so that you can watch them at your leisure.

10. Coffee Break Italian

learn italian online

Coffee Break Italian is a podcast for learning Italian from scratch. It works exactly the way that it sounds: You can learn Italian through short but impactful audio lessons that are perfect for consumption with a coffee and biscotti during a break in your busy day.

The podcasts from Coffee Break Italian are led in English with authentic Italian examples. Each episode is hosted by a teacher, a native speaker and a learner, each providing their own unique look at the language.

Each podcast ranges from three to 10 minutes, and they explore vocabulary and grammar topics that are useful for Italian learners, particularly those at the beginning of their Italian learning journey.

Coffee Break Italian has broken its podcasts into “seasons.” These are essentially playlists of the podcasts, each building on content from the podcast before, so that learners can move logically through the Italian language. There are two seasons of Coffee Break Italian—one for beginners and one for intermediate learners—and each season has 40 episodes.

Each podcast lesson offers explanations, gives examples and provides the listener with opportunities to participate by doing short, oral-based practice exercises.

Online Practice Materials for Italian Reading, Writing and Grammar 

11. LingQ Italian

learn italian online

LingQ is a language learning program that was developed by Canadian polyglot and diplomat Steve Kaufmann.

In a nutshell, LingQ relies on reading and listening to native Italian. In fact, the program hosts content for dozens of languages on its website, Italian included. This content comes from authentic Italian sources such as news agencies, bloggers/vloggers and even individual content creators who upload their own work in Italian.

On LingQ, every word is clickable. This makes authentic content easy to consume, even if you are a beginner. Simply find a text or audio that interests you, then click on any word for an instant translation into English.

These clicked words can then be turned into flashcards for later review. As you study your vocabulary words, they become “known,” which then contributes to your “known words” count. You can use this count to gauge your level and what material you should be reading and listening to on LingQ.

In addition to the existing content, new readings are constantly being added. In fact, with a paid account you can even upload your own content into the LingQ system. This means that if you come across an interesting article or video in Italian, you can integrate it into the LingQ system, which means that you will be able to study the content and add words to your flashcards deck.

12. Online Italian Club

learn italian online

The Online Italian Club is a gold mine for all Italian learners regardless of level, interest or skill they want to develop.

In short, the Online Italian Club is an online directory with thousands of lessons, exercises and resources for Italian learners. On this resource, you can find reading, writing and listening comprehension exercises, grammar practice, vocabulary lists and even speaking practice.

Better yet, there are exercises in these areas for all levels of the Italian learner from absolute beginner to advanced. There are hundreds of lessons available for the A1 (beginner) learner, for instance!

Each level includes a short multi-lesson course, if you are looking for a structured approach to your learning. These lessons link out to explanations of each topic, as well as chances to practice them. You can also scroll beyond the numbered lessons and dive straight into explanations and practice of whatever topic you are interested in.

Online Italian Club is a great place to get some listening practice in, as it provides short audio samples as well as transcripts and exercises to accompany them. The exercises are immediately corrected, pointing out errors and areas for improvement.

The sheer number of grammar exercises is also sure to delight the academically focused Italian learner. These include questions related to a given grammar topic such as verbs, pronouns or adjectives and immediate feedback and corrections of the work.

13. iLUSS Italiano Online

learn italian online

iLUSS Italiano Online is similar to the Online Italian Club in that it has a large amount of online Italian exercises for all levels. In fact, iLUSS boasts a repertoire of 60 grammar units, 350 grammar exercises, 250 reading exercises, 70 vocabulary exercises, 60 listening comprehension exercises and much more.

Lessons include brief but thorough explanations of the topics at hand, along with charts and examples to help you better understand the topic. They also include interactive exercises that get you to actually put your learning to use straight away.

Many of the individual exercises combine to create comprehensive units for Italian learners who are paying subscribers. These include short grammatical explanations, authentic Italian audio as well as immediate corrections of the Italian questions.

For non-paying users, there are free exercises on topics for beginners such as the verb essere (to be), articles and even reading comprehension exercises. These also come with real Italian audio and immediate corrections.

iLUSS also supports the learner at all stages of their Italian learning journey as there are exercises for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners.

14. ToLearnFree

learn italian online

ToLearnFree offers over 300 exercises for Italian learners. As the name suggests—and as you probably guessed!—these exercises are free.

The lessons are sorted into three categories to indicate their levels: one (beginner), two (intermediate) and three (advanced) stars.  These exercises are mostly on vocabulary topics—like the bedroom and Italian geography—and grammar topics like tenses. There are also some reading and listening comprehension exercises that are perfect for testing your knowledge of Italian in the wild.

The majority of the exercises require you to fill in some blanks or complete sentences. Many exercises also offer short tutorials of the exercise’s topic and immediate feedback via exercise corrections.

ToLearnFree is a great resource for visual learners, as many lessons are presented with bright and colorful visuals. You will find comic-book-style dialogues, eye-catching images and even some silly gifs to brighten up your learning in a memorable way.

15. WordReference.com

learn-italian-online

Regardless of what level your Italian is at, this is probably the one-stop reference site that you’ll want. You can look up English-to-Italian, Italian-to-English, Italian only and Italian conjugations. And perhaps the best feature of all is its English-Italian and Italian-only forums, where you can pose your trickier questions and nearly always get useful responses from translators, other learners and native speakers.

16. Lang-8

learn-italian-online

Writing dialogues, stories and journal entries can be a great way to review and reinforce whatever aspect of Italian you’ve been working on. With this site, there’s no need to wait until your next lesson to correct your work. Simply sign up for a free account here and post what you’ve written, and native Italian speakers will correct your writing.

In my experience, you can usually get good corrections from more than one Italian in less than 24 hours. For karma, and to increase your odds of getting corrections, you should also take the time to correct others’ attempts to write in your own native language.

Italian Learning Apps

17. Mango Languages

learn italian online

In this day and age, apps have become the crutch of on-the-go learning, and we seldom talk about learning Italian online without talking about smartphone apps.

One app definitely worth talking about is Mango Languages. The program may not have the frills of some of its competitors, but its easy-to-use, flashcard-based approach to learning the Italian language is impactful and useful for learners.

Mango Languages’ approach is simple. There are five units, each broken into four chapters. Every chapter has seven to 10 individual lessons as well as quiz-type activities at the end of the chapter such as listening and reading exercises. The chapters revolve around words or phrases related to a certain topic such as introducing oneself, travel, food, etc.

As you progress through the chapter, you discover that the words and phrases you have been learning are not random; rather, they create a larger dialogue completely in Italian. The theory here is that learners master one piece of the sentence at a time to help grow the complete picture.

But do not be fooled: Mango Languages is not just a basic flashcard app. The words on the sentence flashcards are color-coded, with native Italian audio and English translations that match up to one another based on their color. You also have the option to see a literal translation which makes understanding the individual words easier.

The program has a few other fun extras, like an AR mode in which the lesson literally comes to life in your living room!

Mango Languages has an online and app version, and even though users have to pay, it is available for free in association with libraries all around the world. Log in with your library card, and you can learn Italian with Mango Languages completely free of charge.

18. Duolingo Italian

learn italian online

If you have been anywhere close to the internet in the past 10 years, you have definitely heard of Duolingo—or, at least, heard of its endearing (and vaguely threatening) owl who has become a hit meme on social media sites.

To put it mildly, Duolingo is a wildly popular app for learning languages, including, of course, Italian.

Duolingo is primarily a flashcard-based app. There is a variety of reading, writing, listening and speaking activities that ask you to translate from English to Italian and vice versa. Duolingo also has immediate feedback for corrections as well as short grammar and vocabulary explanations included in its “Tips” sections of each lesson.

As of late, Duolingo has expanded its Italian course. Rather than just the standard Duolingo “tree” (the sequence of flashcard-based lessons), Duolingo now has the “Stories” feature for Italian learners. Duolingo Stories allows learners to see the Italian language in context through short, entertaining tales, and the learner gets involved by periodically using their Italian to complete parts of the story.

Duolingo has an online and app version that is available for Android and Apple devices.

19. Memrise Italian

learn italian online

Memrise is also a flashcard-based program, but it is different in both structure and in who contributes to its courses.

Memrise’s structure is a bit more pared down than Duolingo’s, but this simplicity offers a streamlined and logical experience. The courses are based around a set of words or phrases, divided into levels. Each word or phrase comes with Italian audio, a translation and various activities to help you master it.

These activities include various repetition exercises to master the flashcard. Memrise also uses plant imagery to show how well the user knows a word: when the word is introduced, a “seed” is planted, and the seed grows until you have mastered the word and it becomes a flower.

Memrise has both program-created and user-created courses. The program’s official courses are the most popular and professional, always using native audio and spaced repetition to teach Italian words and phrases for a given level. In fact, there are seven Italian courses that can be followed logically for beginners.

Though the program has lately been moving away from user-created courses, they’re still accessible and include more varied and specific topics such as business Italian and slang. There are even courses based on Italian frequency lists for optimal vocabulary learning.

20. Drops

learn italian online

Drops is fairly new to the language learning app game, but it has grown quite a following in its short time on the scene.

The app focuses on teaching bite-sized portions of the language, known as “drops.” As with drops of anything, these tiny pieces grow into an ocean of valuable Italian words and phrases, and you slowly but surely accumulate a huge variety of vocabulary in Italian.

The app features lessons that are useful for complete beginners, focusing on topics such as basic phrases, clothing, transportation and culture. The words and phrases related to these topics get gamified through various swipe activities to help learners master them. These include sorting activities, word-building games and audio flashcards.

Drops also keeps track of how many words and phrases are known, moving you through more advanced topics as you graduate from the beginner level of Italian.

21. Anki

learn-italian-online

This app is a simple way to make and use audio, text and visual flashcards anywhere.

There are dozens of decks of Italian Anki flashcards that other users have already made that are free and ready for download. That said, you should forgo those and make your own. First of all, if you’ve ever made your own flashcards, you know that the process itself of making them can be enough to learn the material. And secondly, by doing so you can focus on vocabulary, grammar and structures that are important and meaningful to you.

This means that you can gather the material for your flashcards from any of the other learning resources mentioned here. For example, if your teacher or exchange partner says something that you think you might forget, you can record their voice and write the correct spelling in an Anki card. Likewise, you can copy and paste verb conjugations from WordReference.com (see below).

You can also use Anki on the go. Just recently, a Neapolitan woman in a bar implored me to try o’ pere e o’ musso (a street delicacy in Naples), and I popped open Anki on my phone to record both the suggestion and the pronunciation. Anki now ensures that I continue to see the phrase regularly until it’s fully memorized, so that when I find myself on the streets of Naples later this summer I’ll definitely be ready.

 

And there you have it: 21 resources to learn Italian online that would bring even a man who claims to speak 200 languages to shock and awe!

Now, make like Mr. John Bowring and master the Italian language today.

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos.

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