You’re conversing with a friend and they say, “I heard this awesome new Italian song.” They toss you a pair of headphones and you plug in.
The music consumes you and transports you to the discoteche (night clubs) of Rome or the mountains of Calabria, giving you chills.
Or imagine this:
Maybe you’re at a restaurant and you faintly hear a great tune over the Italian radio. You start bopping in your seat and pull out your phone, shuffling through your Italian learning apps and open Shazam to identify the song.
Congratulations! You’ve just discovered your new favorite song.
Better yet: You’re ready to learn Italian with songs!
How to Effectively Learn Italian with Songs
Music is a great soundtrack to your day, no matter what activity you’re doing. But it’s also one of the easiest and most fun ways to learn the Italian language. Learning Italian with songs exposes you to new vocabulary in context and it can even be a great way to practice grammar constructions.
But don’t just listen along! You can consciously use Italian songs to learn the language.
During your first listen of an Italian song, make sure to keep a notebook and pen nearby. Use these to keep track of new vocabulary, idioms or grammar structures. The language in modern music is often informal, so you may be able to learn some slang, as well.
I like to review these later either in my notebook or I create physical or Anki flashcards deck from my notes to review at regular intervals.
Remember: Songs can be sung quickly, so I suggest you utilize the playback speed feature on YouTube to adjust the speed if needed.
LyricsTranslate is also a fantastic website to get translations of the songs from Italian into English or another language. Better yet, if the lyrics to the song aren’t available or translated on the website, you can request for them to be added.
Learn Italian with Songs: 7 Hits That Teach Valuable Vocab and Grammar
Plug in your loudspeaker and check out seven of the best modern songs for learning Italian!
And if these leave you hungry for more terrific tunes, you can find plenty of music videos (as well as movie trailers, inspirational talks and other real-world videos) on FluentU!
What’s more, each video comes with interactive subtitles so you can click on any word as the song plays to see its definition, read an example sentence and even see it in use in other videos.
Find a word you want to memorize? Add it to your vocab list! Then, use quizzes and flashcards to learn it forever.
The FluentU program tracks your progress and offers content and questions based on your previous activity, so every lesson is 100% personalized to you (and your unique music and video tastes).
You can use FluentU in your browser or download the iOS or Android app to take your learning on the go.
Ready? Let’s learn Italian with some excellent songs!
To get us started, “Per un milione” by Boomdabash was a huge Winter 2019 hit in Italy. It’s easy to understand why: its energy is infectious, and its uplifting message is sorely needed in our modern world. It also employs a children’s choir for the chorus for an added vivere insieme (live together) feel. Who doesn’t love a feel-good hit?
This song talks about how the singer will wait forever for a love interest, and there’s nothing worth more than the person’s returned love.
Further, with lyrics like “Ti aspetterò | Perché sei tu che porti il sole” (I’ll wait for you | because it’s you who brings the sunshine), this song is great for reviewing grammar. In fact, it’s great for practicing the verb aspettare (to wait) in multiple tenses like il presente (the present tense) and il futuro semplice (the simple future tense).
In a drastic change from “Per un milione,” “Casa” by Giordana is a more somber effort. Giordana is a singer known for both her songs and spoken poetry, and she was actually on “Amici 18″ (Friends 2018), a TV show reminiscent of “American Idol” or “The Voice” where singers compete on live TV for votes to move onto the next round.
While Giordana didn’t win the competition, the show launched her into a fruitful singing career in Italy. “Casa” is the title track and single for her first album. The lyrics talk about how everywhere feels like home when she’s with a lover.
This song is also a great way to practice Italian adjectives since it uses many of them to describe how being with her lover feels: casa intima (intimate house), casa piccola (small house), casa all’angolo di via della speranza (house at the corner of Hopeful Street).
“Vivere tutte le vite” is a laid-back hit that’s a duet between singers Elisa and Carl Brave. Elisa is a well-known singer who often makes songs in English but for this one, she has teamed up with rapper Carl Brave for a song completely in Italian.
The best part of this song is that it combines jazz, pop and island music for a great summer jam. Further, like “Per un milione,” the lyrics are uplifting. They’re about living life to the fullest and maintaining a positive attitude even about the things that are scary.
This song is great for learning some Italian figurative language. For example, the final lyric in the chorus “non lasciarmi sfuggire neanche una foglia che si muove” means “I won’t let a single moving leaf escape me,” which is a clever use of figurative language to mean that Elisa won’t let life pass her by and she’ll enjoy even the most minute details.
Our next song is a little bit of a throwback. This song was a hit in the summer of 2018, but it hasn’t waned in popularity in Italy. It’s performed by Sfera Ebbasta, the man who’s credited for introducing and popularizing Trap music in Italy, a genre that combines dance music and rap music for infectious party jams.
In the song “Ricchi X Sempre,” Sfera Ebbasta reflects on his struggles of becoming a rapper and making money in Italy.
On the way, he brings to light some of the social issues facing young people in Italy, especially in regards to finding a job or affording a decent lifestyle. For example, one of the more fun lines includes “lancio i soldi in aria, anche oggi sono il re” (I throw money in the air, even today I’m the king) boasting about a newfound lavish lifestyle.
This song is also good for learning modern Italian slang. For instance, repeated through the song is the phrase “vabbè fa niente” (well, whatever) which is a common expression of ennui and indifference in Italian.
Released in 2018, “Groupie” made female rapper Beba known to the music scene in Italy. In the song, Beba raps about how she doesn’t have enemies. Instead, she claims to have groupies who are jealous of her. She also boasts about how fantastic of a rapper she is, which we can’t deny because her flow is awesome!
Due to its subject matter, this song is great for learning Italian comparative adjectives and informal language. Further, it’s also great for learning vocabulary related to going out, lifestyle and friendship, though I’d be wary of telling my friends “se cerchi i ‘mi piace’, non piaci” (if you look for “likes,” you’re not liked).
The Italian music duo Takagi & Ketra has teamed up with singer Giusy Ferreri, a well-known singer from the Italian edition of “X Factor,” for the song of the summer 2019.
“Jumbo” is fun and danceable, and like the other feel-good jams on this list, it focuses on an awesome summer night out with a love interest.
The best part of this song is that the lyrics are repetitive with great use of the imperfetto (imperfect). This makes practicing this verb tense a breeze with this song, and you’ll have the lyrics repeating in your head all day after listening, that’s for sure!
Priestess is an artist who combines rap and singing for this awesome trap song. She’s up and coming in Italy, and with this song, it’s easy to see why. It’s atmospheric, and Priestess seamlessly glides between singing and rapping as she recounts a love from which she’s wounded.
The lyrics are also gold: “Ho perso la testa per te: Maria Antonietta, Maria Antonietta” (I lost my head for you: Marie Antoinette, Maria Antoinette) is the chorus, paying homage to the beheaded French queen. Not only is this song great for vocabulary related to love and loss, but it’s also a great review of the passato prossimo (the present perfect tense).
Have you found your new favorite Italian banger yet? I know I’ve found a few. Turn up the volume and learn Italian with songs!
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