Italian Language

Four Weekly Practices for Learning Italian

Or, How I Study Italian 2018

In searching for some words of encouragement to begin this post, I typed into Google “why study Italian”?

A number of posts of popped up, mostly from language school blogs or university foreign language departments. I clicked the one with the most number of reasons (24).

Coming it at #24, below “to avoid boredom”, and “to even the score with Italians who speak your language” (a strange motivator for anything, in my opinion), is my #1 reason for studying Italian: for the sheer joy of learning.

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Above: How I feel when I understand spoken Italian!

I have been learning Italian in small chunks for nearly seven years now for one simple reason: L’italiano mi porta la gioia Italian brings me joy. Perhaps you feel the same?

If one of your goals this year is to learn Italian, my #1 tip is for you to surround yourself with the language; to weave little chunks of exposure and learning throughout your day. Italian is a steady presence in my life. Following are some of the ways to keep Italian close by. For additional tips, you may enjoy the other posts in this series: How I Study Italian #1#2#3.

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#1 Listen! (Ascoltare!)

This is the most convenient exposure opportunity. I always have music, podcasts or audio books it Italian at the ready. Every day, during time spent commuting, exercising or even making dinner, I have something in Italian as my colonna sonora (soundtrack).

Source suggestions:  News in Slow Italian, Mix 24 – La Storia, Storie di Fiori (these three are podcasts; Tutto Italiano; Radio Italia; Read and Think Italian (CD and book)

Time investment: An easy 30 minutes per day (although this can vary depending on your schedule)

#2 Read! (Leggere!)

I like to wake up early, sip a cup of coffee and read the blogs before everyone else wakes up. During this morning meditation of sorts, I try to read one article in Italian. Even if I don’t understand it all, it starts my day with a sense of accomplishment. Bonus points if you leggere ad alta voce — read it out loud. (Great pronunciation practice!)

Source suggestions: Dual Language: Italy Magazine, L’Olivo Santa Barbara, Studentessa Matta. Straight from Italy (certamente there are molto options) but my favorites are La Nazione and Donna Moderna.

Time investment: 10 minutes per day

#3 Practice! (Fare Esercizio!)

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At the risk of sounding a little pazza (crazy), one of my favorite ways to spend some free time is with my Italian grammar workbooks and websites. I find it to be strangely relaxing. 🙂

Source suggestions: Online: Babbel, Memrise (a great start for absolute beginners is this course on Memrise); The Iceberg Project (both free and fee-based challenges); books for beginners: Italian in 10 Minutes a DayEasy Italian Step by Step (I started with both of these); books for intermediates: Advanced Italian Step by Step or anything in the Practice Makes Perfect series.

Time investment: 10 minutes per day (or more as desired!)

#3 Chat! (Chiacchierare!)

Without a doubt speaking Italian is my biggest challenge! Short of finding a language partner who is fluent in Italian but needs to learn English, I am trying to have one conversation in Italian every week.

Source suggestions:  There are a variety of language tutors online, my tutor is Aurora at Skype Italian Teacher, (she’s great!). I see many recommendations for italkie, and if you have anyone in your life who speaks Italian, now’s the time to get in touch!

Time investment: 20-30 minutes per week

#4 Mini Immersion (Piccolissimo Immersione)

I find that it’s important to balance the language learning resources with actual Italian sources — shows and movies that you would find if you turned up in Italy one day. The pace is so much faster and it’s a great way to jump into Italian culture. Again, there are countless resources available (tante grazie, Internet!), so here are some of my favorites:

Source suggestions: Browse Rai Play and find a show or two which catches your interest. (I like travel shows, game shows and children’s shows); my favorite movie, naturalmente, is La Vita è Bella Other great suggestions on Netflix right now found here and here.

Time investment: 10 minutes per day or watch a full show or movie on the weekend.


I hope that you have found some fun, easy and helpful ways to weave Italian into your week. Let me know how it goes for you, and cin cin to a successful year in your language learning journey!

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15 thoughts on “Four Weekly Practices for Learning Italian

  1. Buon giorno Stacy! I have to say, these are all good tips, and I like the way you divided them up into reading, listening, and speaking. I find that I learn best by writing. Can I put in a plug for my favorite 2 resources? To really learn how Italian is spoken today, I find the Detective Montalbano series the most helpful Italian I’ve listened to. I watch the episode on Sunday and then replay each scene, one at a time, the rest of the week. Usually I can pick out phrases that lead to important learning points – like when self-reflexive verbs should be used. Also, for someone wanting to learn Italian for purposes of traveling, my free audio is up on http://learntravelitalian.com/interactive.html. It sounds like you will make great progress in your knowledge of Italian in 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVE this plan! New goal – read/listen to/watch at least 10 min. of something in Italian language BEFORE checking FB or Instagram. 🙂 I have also started, again but hopefully more consistently, my 2nd favorite program – il Maresciallo. Adore Gigi Proietti!!! 1st favorite is Don Matteo but I buy his on DVD and then, with the subtitles, my husband can watch with me. I also love Melevisione, especially the cooking episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the great suggestions, Bonnie! I’m so glad you found a helpful study tip. Especially for those of us who have been studying for a while, it’s important to mix it up every so often. Are you still teaching Italian?

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  3. Guess what I just wrote out and taped to the wall by my kitchen table. My kids’ first words and phrases in Italian!! Fantastico!! (Any suggestions for an easy resource to teach the kiddos more? We’ve got a couple months to do it in. 😉)

    Liked by 1 person

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