The best way to learn Italian — 5 top tips
(Updated Oct 2020)
It’s been a few years since I started learning Italian.
While I’m not yet fully fluent (but slowly getting there), I’m enjoying discovering the best ways of learning the language.
Italian is a language I’d only ever thought about learning as a hobby. I’d never imagined I’d be speaking it daily, sometimes more often than English.
When I first started out, I probably had about 10 words in my Italian vocabulary. Now, I’m at a point where I surprise myself with how much I know, and how much I can understand.
Getting started — best way to learn Italian
Learning a new language can be daunting, and at times, frustrating. However, once you start to understand the basics, and begin to widen your vocabulary, things begin to make sense.
I wouldn’t say it becomes ‘easier’ as I’ve still days when my brain simply refuses to function in Italian. What I would say, is that after a period, you’ll find that you’ll make fewer mistakes. And this, for me, is a sign you’re doing something right.
If you’re also thinking about learning Italian, you may find the following 5 points a good starting point.
How hard is it to learn Italian?
If you know another Latin-based language (ie French, Portuguese), you’ll have a slight advantage with learning Italian.
Speaking Spanish gave me a head start, but only slightly because I still tend to confuse the two! While the root of the word may be similar, ultimately, they’re 2 different languages.
It isn’t hard to learn Italian — it’s hard to stay motivated, and not give up when things get difficult.
Italian friends tell me how tired they get of speaking in English, even to the point of getting a headache. This is normal for both sides but stick to the process and you’ll get there eventually.
Best way to learn Italian – take a language course
1. Take a course
If you’re learning Italian completely from scratch, taking a course, like those offered at Listen and Learn is a good start.
Studying in a group setting, and with others at the same language level, makes it less overwhelming, and more fun. What’s more, you can ask your teacher about any questions you have and get an answer straight away.
Say it right — best way to learn Italian
“It isn’t hard to learn Italian — it’s hard to stay motivated, and not give up when things get difficult.”
2. Download a language app
Using a language app is another way of learning Italian.
I wouldn’t say it’s the best way, because it misses out on key elements — namely human interaction. Repeating phrases with a robotic voice have nothing on conversing in real time with an expert tutor.
Language apps are good as a side resource. They fill in the gaps between classes and are useful for refreshing your memory on a subject.
Get help from a language app
3. Immerse yourself in the culture
There are plenty of excellent resources that’ll help you improve your language skills day by day. One of the best ways to learn Italian is by watching Italian films and videos.
If possible, I also advise listening to popular Italian artists at least once a day. Lookup Antonello Venditi and Mina. You can hear the Italian words clearly, which will also help your development.
It’s all about the language — best way to learn Italian
Finding films or music that are in line with your preferred taste shouldn’t be the driving force here. Looking for content in which the actors/singers speak well, and clearly, should be your primary focus.
Once you get into a routine of listening/watching this type of content, your brain will slowly get accustomed to Italian.
Listening to Italian music, like Antonello Venditti, is a good aid to learning
4. Listen to podcasts
When I first started learning Italian, I also found it useful to listen to podcasts. There are tons of good ones online, and for every level too.
The beauty of having a podcast, is that you can listen to it anywhere. I listened to several at the beginning, while on the train, walking to work, and even in the gym.
Choose a good podcast
5. Talk, talk, talk
Ultimately, the best way to learn Italian is just to start speaking.
Practicing a new language is essential and holds the key to speaking fluently. Even if you don’t have Italian friends, or a partner, it’s still possible to learn the language.
Seize the opportunities — best way to learn Italian
Be sure to grab any opportunity you can to converse. Ask classmates in your language course whether they’d be keen to meet up outside and practice over a coffee.
Visit your local Italian café or deli and begin greeting the barista or owner with ‘ciao’.
You can also search for Italian-speaking conversational meetups in your area and commit to attending regularly.
Best way to learn Italian — speak the language whenever you can
Opening doors with language
Truthfully speaking, conversing in a language other than your own for the first time is utterly terrifying.
You’ll make countless mistakes, stutter, experience prolonged moments of silence and at times, just go blank.
However, once you get to a point where you can converse, you’ll see things in a different light.
A new phase — best way to learn Italian
Doors will open, literally and figuratively. Speaking Italian has helped me make new [Italian] contacts and secure potential clients at an international travel event.
It’s also helped me to feel part of a community whenever we’re back in Italy, rather than as an outsider. And it’s that feeling of belonging that drives me to be fluent in Italian one day, and one day soon.
Speaking a new language helps you feel part of the community
Would you like to learn Italian? Maybe you’ve already started. Whichever way, leave me a comment below, I’d love to read them.
Till next time, happy boutique travels x
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. It may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. Thank you for your continued support.
Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience, a demographic (late 20s onward) that enjoys glamping over camping and staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels. Flashpackers also like to indulge in the local food and wine, cultural activities, as well as a spot of wellness on their travels. Want to know more? Read on....