The Easiest Way to Learn Italian

What's the easiest way to learn Italian?

You could do what I did, and marry a Roman!

shopping at the vegetable market in campo dei fioriWant to learn Italian so you can live as the Romans do? Like shop for vegetables in Campo dei Fiori? Read on!

Or, you can try one of these great resources.

The Best Resources for Learning Italian

We all learn new languages differently. Some learn by studying and taking tests. Others learn by immersing themselves in a country where they speak the language one is trying to learn. Some use apps, others use tutors.

There is not one best way to learn a new language such as Italian. Much of it depends on YOU, your circumstances, and most importantly, how you learn.

On this page I'll give you some excellent resources for learning Italian like:

The easiest way to learn Italian online

There are a lot of excellent online courses to help you learn Italian.

This may be one of the most popular ways to learn Italian. Usually you can go at your own pace, and using a computer or tablet screen is easier than using a smaller smartphone screen as you would with an app. 

There are almost endless resources for studying Italian online. Here are some of the most widely used:

  • Babbel - One of the most popular and easiest way to learn Italian online is with Babbel. My sister uses it and says it is fantastic.
  • RocketLanguages - Another very popular and award-winning software for learning Italian online is RocketLanguages.
  • Rosetta Stone - This very popular online course is also a great product for learning Italian.
  • Italki - This is a unique program that allows you to learn with an instructor online. You pick the instructor and the time at your convenience. It's on a pay per lesson basis so it's very customizable. Users rave about it!
  • The Mimic Method Master Class - This is an excellent option for learning Italian because they really help you with hearing, comprehension, and pronunciation. 
  • Udemy - You can find a huge selection of online Italian courses (along with many other types of classes) on Udemy.
  • FutureLearn - Free online courses through Open University. You may not find as many courses here, as FutureLearn is geared more towards university-type classes.
  • YouTube has a lot of options for learning Italian online. 

The easiest way to learn Italian with an app

There are so many apps now to help you learn Italian. Here are just a few of the most popular apps for learning Italian:

  • Babbel - As I wrote above, Babbel is one of THE best ways to learn Italian. It comes in an easy-to-use app for IOS and Android.
  • RocketLanguage - As above, RocketLanguage comes in an app for IOS and Android.
  • DuoLingo - DuoLingo is another very popular app for learning many different languages, including Italian.

The easiest way to learn Italian in your car

There are podcasts and audio courses that will help you learn Italian while you're driving (or walking or otherwise not in front of a computer or phone screen).

A highly-rated audio course that also comes as a kindle or paperback is this Learn Italian for Beginners course.

Another excellent course that comes complete with audio files, physical books, and online learning is this course by Living Language Italian, Beginner through Advanced.

One of the best podcasts for learning Italian is the Coffee Break podcast.

Another excellent podcast is the Italian Pod 101 podcast.

The easiest way to learn Italian in Italy

Learning ItalianI believe the easiest way to learn Italian is by spending time in Italy. One location I am partial to (if you don't come to Rome) is Bologna. It's a university city, and it's full of rich cultural heritage, not to mention amazing food!

One of the easiest ways to learn any new language is to immerse yourself in a culture where that language is spoken. (See the example at the top of this page - try heading to a market like Campo dei Fiori in Rome, and buying some fruit from one of the vendors there.)

It's even better if you are not surrounded by a lot of other people who speak your language.

So it would make sense that one of the best ways to learn Italian is by spending some time in Italy.

My dad H. Russell Bernard, who is a cultural anthropologist specialized in linguistics, says that people only really learn a new language when they NEED to do so.

I can attest to this.

I've tried studying various languages over the years, often because I had friends who spoke them (Swedish, Czech, Russian), and I thought it would be fun.

I didn't get very far.

I could not spend much time IN those countries, and the friends in question, and their friends, all spoke English. 

On the other hand, I learned Italian in Rome and Spanish in Alicante, Spain, because I lived in those places and because most of the people I knew and wanted to communicate with did not speak English.

So, if you are trying to learn to speak Italian for fun, give yourself a tangible goal so you have something to work towards.

And forgive yourself if you do not become fluent.

Sometimes the best part is in the journey itself!

Where is the best place in Italy to study Italian?

As with picking the easiest way to learn Italian, picking WHERE to study Italian in Italy will be different for everyone.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Location — You could choose a big city like Rome or Florence, or a small town in the Tuscan Hills or on the island of Sicily. If you study Italian in a big tourist city, you will have lots more to do in your off-time, but you will also have to contend with tourist crowds and hearing a lot more English spoken around you, including by locals who will want to practice their English on you while you are trying to practice your Italian on them! Small towns will probably give you a bit more of a chance to practice your burgeoning language skills, but might offer less to do, especially at night.
  • Type of program — There are many different levels of programs such as full immersion with intense lessons, or might lighter classes where you can just get a sense of the language but focus more of your experience on your time outside the classroom. How much time do you want to spend in the classroom and studying?
  • Staff — Make sure the program you pick employs qualified teachers.
  • Student visa — If you are not an EU citizen, you may need to apply for a student visa. This is not very complicated, but there are some study-abroad programs that are not eligible for student visas. So check before you apply.

There are thousands of schools across Italy.

Here is a handy website that helps you filter them based on your needs.

How long should you spend in Italy to learn Italian?

Obviously the longer you can spend in Italy, the more your Italian will improve. But it's not just the amount of time, but the way you spend it.

Learning ItalianOne of the easiest ways to learn Italian is to spend some time studying in Italy. One popular location is Florence.

The first time I tried studying Spanish in Spain, I went with an American University group. First we had a big bus tour of Spain (so much fun!), and then we planted ourselves in Barcelona. They put us in pairs to stay with local Spanish families. The course lasted a month, and at the end of it, I'd really spent more time with my fellow students than with my host family. And I didn't learn much.

When I returned the following year, I spent a month in Alicante. I decided not to go with an American school but with a local one. I was in a dorm with other foreign students. And we all spoke English together. So I didn't learn much.

Then I met the man who would become my boyfriend for a few years. School ended. I stayed in Alicante and went to live with him, his mom, and his two sisters. I went home to finish university and graduate. I came back to Alicante and lived and worked there for a year. And THEN I learned Spanish.

The easiest way to learn Italian in Rome

Learning ItalianThe easiest way to learn Italian is to immerse yourself in the culture. And what better place to do this than Rome? Yes, I am partial.

One huge advantage to studying Italian in Rome is that you have so much to see and do here while you study here.

Another huge advantage is the ease of coming and going to other parts of Italy from Rome's Termini train station. There are even lots of fantastic day trips.

The easiest way to learn Italian in Rome is to enrol in a program and live here for a period of time, but it's also important that you get out every day and try to interact with the Romans themselves.

Following is a list of some of the most popular Italian language courses in Rome, and where they are:

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Books, movies, and more!

The easiest way to learn Italian - books

The easiest way to learn Italian is by speaking it and hearing it. 

You can augment your learning with some books like these:

Disclosure: If you make a purchase through a link on this page, I may receive a small commission - at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my site!

The easiest way to learn Italian - Movies

I think the easiest way to learn any language is by watching tv shows or movies that you enjoy. Watch them in Italian and either English subtitles or Italian subtitles. Believe it or not, if you have a fair handle on Italian, using Italian subtitles will help you much more than using English subtitles.

We watch everything in original language (this often means we watch things in English), and we use original language subtitles. So for Alessandro, who is fluent in English, it's helpful to have the subtitles in English when we watch tv shows or movies in English. It just makes it easier especially when people speak quickly and/or in slang.

The same is true for Italian. When we watch Italian tv shows or movies in Italian, I like help from the Italian subtitles even though I am fluent in Italian.

There are a lot of fun, well-known. easy to watch movies in Italian. Then just use either English or Italian subtitles. 

With Netflix and Amazon Prime, you often have the choice to watch something in original language and with subtitles.

Visit my Amazon store front to see my recommended Italian movies. Here are 3 of my favorites to get you started:

How to apply for a student visa to study in Italy

If you are coming to study Italian in Italy and you are an EU citizen, you do not need to apply for a student visa.

If you come to study Italian in Italy and are not a citizen of the EU, you can only stay in Italy for a maximum 90 days as a tourist. So if your course lasts longer than this, you will need to apply for a student visa.

As I wrote above, when choosing your school make sure they are eligible to get you a student visa. Most state-run schools and universities are eligible. But some smaller, private language schools might not be, so check before you commit. 

Student visas for Italy are issued by Italian Embassies or Consulate-General offices in your country of origin. You should try to book your appointment with your nearest Italian consulate 1-2 months in advance.

Here's how to apply for a study visa in Italy. You will need:

  • A letter of acceptance from the school institution in Italy where you will study, along with the length of the course/program.
  • Proof of financial independence. Some financial requirements oblige the students to show proof of having their own bank account and credit card with minimum liquid cash available. Sometimes a letter of financial support from a parent can suffice.
  • Proof of health insurance, specifically an insurance policy that covers medical expenses in Italy.
  • Proof of accommodation in Italy, whether through your school, or with a confirmation of an apartment or B&B reservations.
  • If you are an EU citizen and plan to stay in Italy longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a "permesso di soggiorno", which is a residence permit.
  • One passport-sized photo.
  • Copy of your driver's license and/or school ID.
  • Copy of your passport (your passport must be valid and must expire more than 6 months after the end date of your study program.)

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