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The Best Italian Lessons

Where Can You Find the Best Italian Lessons?

Learning any new language opens up a world of opportunities, and Italian, with its rich history, captivating culture, and melodious rhythm, is no exception. Learning Italian online has become an increasingly popular choice for people around the globe, thanks to the convenience, flexibility, and variety of resources available at their fingertips.

It's no wonder that learning Italian online has surged in popularity. You've got plenty of options to fit just how you like to learn. If you prefer to learn by listening and getting the hang of how Italian sounds, there are programs made just for that. They help you get used to the language's rhythm and pronunciation. And if you love games, there are fun platforms where you can learn new words and grammar through play, earning points and badges along the way.

Saturday, June 22nd

2024 Italian Lesson Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Rocket Languages Review 5 Star Rating

Rocket Languages

5 Star Rating
  • Price: Lifetime access to 3 levels for a discounted price of $249.90
  • Beginner to Advanced levels, each with seven modules and a Survival Kit
  • Interactive audio lessons that can be streamed or downloaded
  • Lessons focus on speaking and listening skills
  • Grammar explained within lessons
  • Voice recognition tool for pronunciation practice
  • "Role Playing" activity to practice real conversations
  • Additional Travelogue series available for more practice
  • Competition with other learners
  • 60-day satisfaction guarantee
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Rocket Languages teaches German, French, Korean, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, Sign Language, English, and, of course, Italian. Their programs focus on improving your listening and speaking skills right from the start, using interactive audio lessons. These lessons are like 30-minute podcasts based on real-world conversations. They also teach you about the culture and grammar of the language you're learning. The program lets you learn at your own speed, and you can access your lessons from anywhere, on any device.

Audio lessons with engaging hosts

The Rocket Languages course offers an interactive way to learn Italian. It uses audio lessons lasting between 15 to 40 minutes, which you can either stream or download. Each lesson revolves around an Italian conversation to give you the chance to practice speaking. If you're new to Italian, it's recommended to listen to the audio multiple times to get used to the language. You are encouraged to repeat the words or phrases after the host, Maria, who will say them in Italian and then give the English translation. The course is not just about understanding Italian, but also participating in conversations. Your hosts are Alessandro, an Italian-American from New York, and Maria, a native Italian speaker from Rome. They both share a deep love for Italian language and culture and look forward to helping you learn.

Grammar is given as much importance as vocabulary

The further you progress in the course, the more spoken Italian you'll hear in your audio lessons. The structure of the lessons is really helpful. You'll hear a full conversation between Maria and Roberto, then it's summarized in English, and finally, it's broken down into smaller parts (think two words of Italian at a time, followed by the English translation.) You're also taught different expressions for the same Italian phrases, which you won't find with many of Rocket Languages' competitors. We also love that you're taught grammar alongside new vocabulary - you aren't left wondering about it for long, and you don't have to go hunt down a separate tab that may or may not answer your questions. (Looking at you, Bird App.)

Tools and features to suit every learning style

Rocket Languages' approach also includes a voice recognition tool called Rocket Record which helps you practice speaking Italian correctly. It offers a "Role Playing" activity that lets you practice real conversations in a stress-free way. You can learn additional vocabulary that isn't in the conversation lessons. There are also flashcards to help you remember what you've learned. Plus, you can practice listening to phrases, writing what you hear, and speaking out loud. There are also quizzes to test your understanding. This approach to learning is like having an interactive textbook with built-in audio - it's a fun way to really learn the language, and we think it's more effective than gamified language learning apps that rely too heavily on word banks and not enough on recall.

Best Italian Lessons

3 levels of 7 modules each

The Rocket Italian course is organized into three levels, and each level is made up of about seven modules and a Survival Kit. For example, in Module 1 of Level 1, you'll start with an introduction, then learn how to make a friend, ask if someone speaks Italian, and order coffee and pizza. You'll also learn about Italian cuisine. Plus, you'll get lessons on how to pronounce Italian words, talk about people, places, and things, use articles, and understand the verbs "to be" and "to have" . The Survival Kits offer practical lessons for situations you're likely to encounter, like how to talk about family. Level 3 of the Rocket Italian course tackles more advanced topics. You'll learn to converse about a variety of topics, from organizing a party to discussing Italian literature and history. You'll also explore complex grammar structures like the imperfect subjunctive and the past perfect subjunctive.

Travelogue is great for upcoming vacations

If you want more Italian practice, Rocket Languages also offers something called Travelogues, but it costs extra. When we visited, it was on sale for $99.95, down from $149.95. The Travelogue series is a learning tool that takes you on a virtual journey through Italy. This series of lessons follows the daily experiences of two native Italian speakers, Marco and Sofia, as they travel in Italy, immersing you and allowing you to practice conversational Italian in a real-world context. You'll understand the culture, perfect your pronunciation, and improve your reading and listening skills.

Compete against other language learners

Worried about missing out on a little friendly rivalry by choosing Rocket Languages? Fear not. Tucked away under the "Tools" tab, you'll find the Leaderboard and Points and Streaks dashboard. You can track your own progress and measure how you're doing against just other Italian learners or learners across all of Rocket Languages' courses. This tab is also where you'll find the Italian Forum, where you can ask questions about Italian grammar, culture, travel, and more.

Best Italian Lessons

Lifetime access to 3 levels for $249.90

Rocket Languages offers three different one-time payment packages for their Italian courses. The first option is to buy all three levels, which will take you from beginner to advanced Italian. Normally, this package costs $449.85, but it's often discounted to $249.90. The second option is to buy the first two levels, which will bring you to a strong conversational level. This package usually costs $299.90, but it's often lowered to $239.90. The final option is to buy just the first level. This will get you to a good conversational level and is typically priced at $149.95, but it's usually on sale for $89.95.

60-day satisfaction guarantee

If you're not happy with the Rocket Italian course, you can get your money back with no hassle. You have 60 days to decide if the course is right for you. If it's not, just reach out to their Customer Support Team and they'll give you a full refund. Before you buy, you can also try out Rocket Italian for free - you'll get to run through the first lesson of each module.

Our top pick

With a rating of 4.4 out of 5 on the App Store from over a thousand reviews, and a 4.7 out of 5 from more than 2,200 evaluations on the Google Play Store, Rocket Languages' Italian course is popular. The course is a well-structured, sequential learning path, but you can also explore topics that catch your interest without having to test into them. The audio content features real spoken Italian, not artificial computer-generated voices. You'll enjoy the competition with other learners and the fact that you can download your audio lessons in MP3 format, meaning they're yours to keep forever. Rocket Languages has no real drawbacks, and it gets our highest recommendation among Italian lessons.

Ouino Review 4.5 Star Rating

Ouino

4.5 Star Rating
  • Costs $95.76 for lifetime access or $6.99 per month
  • Free trial, no email required
  • Encourages immersion in external sources
  • Covers all main language skills
  • Self-graded pronunciation practice
  • Highly customizable lessons
  • Excellent customer service by Ouino's creators
  • Positive user reviews
  • Offers a 60-day satisfaction guarantee for lifetime access
  • Compatible with multiple devices
  • Provides over 450 lessons and 1,300 exercises

Are you looking to learn Italian? Then you might want to consider Ouino, a platform that was established in 2021. The term "Ouino" possibly derives from the French and Spanish words for "yes" and "no" respectively. Cleverly, it also sounds like the phrase "we know" in English. The company hasn't shared much about its history or the team behind it, but they provide a detailed 13-page explanation on Ouino's functionality and the rationale behind its design.

Ouino encourages immersing yourself in external sources

Ouino explains that to truly learn a language, you need two things: a core method and external sources. The core method is like your main learning tool. It's where you learn the fundamentals like pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. But learning a language isn't just about the basics. You need to immerse yourself too. That's where external sources come in. These are activities like watching movies, reading news articles or books, or speaking with native speakers. What is Ouino? They're vying to be your chosen core method. We like that they talk about the importance of external sources, because a lot of online Italian courses pretend to be enough to take you to fluency. Ouino even lets you mark on the progress tracking calendar the days you've studied Italian using external sources.

All the main language skills covered

Ouino has all the resources that a core method should have. It offers you a comprehensive understanding of grammar, a vast vocabulary, and the ability to conjugate hundreds of verbs in many tenses - which is something other Italian courses avoid. It'll also help you improve your conversation skills and perfect your pronunciation. You'll learn these things through reading, listening, writing, and speaking activities, providing you with a well-rounded language learning experience. You can take the lessons in any order that makes sense to you, or follow the recommended learning path, which shows you the most frequently used Italian words first.

Pronunciation practice is self-graded

Just so you know, Ouino doesn't use voice recognition technology for pronunciation due to its current limitations in detecting subtle accents. Instead, you can record yourself speaking and compare it to how a native speaker says the same thing. This lets you self-correct and practice until you sound right or feel confident. Ouino also shows hints in English to help you pronounce words correctly. Plus, you can choose how long and difficult the sentences are. There are thousands of phrases to work on in the "Extra Language Practice" tab.

Best Italian Lessons

Highly customizable

In Ouino, you can adapt the lessons to fit your learning pace and style. By clicking the gear icon, you can adjust the speed of the pronunciation, the frequency of word repetition, the time between each word, and the subtitles. As you improve, you can speed up the lessons. Don't worry, you can always adjust these settings later. We found the audio to be really clear and conversational, and even though we are familiar with Italian, the slowed-down audio helped us hear nuances in the pronunciation we'd normally miss.

Module-specific settings

Each module has its own settings, but you can also change all the settings at once from the home screen. The exercises have a timer to challenge you to respond quickly, an important skill in language learning. If you find the timer too stressful, you can disable it. However, the most challenging exercises, the "Fluency Sprints," always have a timer to push you to your limits.

Try it yourself for free

Ouino is very transparent about how their language lessons work. You don't need to give them your email or sign up for a trial to see their Italian lessons. You can watch videos that show every part of their teaching method. You can even click on a "Try It Free" button and give it a try. You'll get to see all areas of language learning including verbs and conjugation, vocabulary, and conversations.

Best Italian Lessons

Customer service is done by Ouino's creators

If you ever need help with the Ouino Italian language learning program, you'll be talking directly to its creators, who describe themselves as a family of language lovers who are eager to help you reach your goals. If you're ever stuck or feel like you're not progressing, they want to help you overcome those obstacles. And if you're not sure about committing to Ouino yet, they'd be happy to chat with you about it on the phone. If they believe Ouino isn't the right fit for you, they'll tell you and guide you towards an alternative that can better suit your needs.

Customers love it

The last time we reviewed Ouino for Italian lessons, it was too new to talk much about what customers think. However, at the time of this review, we found a good amount of people who used it to learn Italian, and they have a lot of good things to say. They praise Ouino's structure and excellent customer service, and they're fans of the updates and new learning materials, the ability to track progress, and the thorough activities for learning Italian verbs. Users also enjoy the ability to download the course to their phone for on-the-go learning. One user particularly appreciated the repetitive lessons for mastering verb conjugations and plans to use Ouino for learning German next.

$6.99 to $12.99 per month, paid in one-time fee

Ouino offers three subscription plans for language learning: 3-month access at $12.99 per month (one-time payment of $38.97), 6-month access at $9.99 per month (discounted one-time payment of $59.94), and 12-month access at $6.99 per month (discounted annual price of $83.88). All plans include ad-free and offline use, over 450 lessons and 1,300 exercises, availability on multiple platforms, cloud sync, personal language mentoring, and free lifetime upgrades. Generally, we're not a huge fan of one-time payments for subscription services like these, even though they try to make it sound like a benefit to you, the user. This model means the service already has your money for the 3-,6-, or 12-month period if you decide 2 months in that the service doesn't meet your expectations. However, there is a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Best Italian Lessons

Get lifetime access for $95.76

Ouino also offers lifetime access to their Italian course for $95.76, equating to $3.99 per month when used for two years. This package includes no ads, offline use, a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, over 450 lessons and 1300 exercises, compatibility with multiple devices, personal language mentoring, and free lifetime upgrades. A second language can be added for a 50% discount, and all languages can be accessed for $191.52.

We know you'll like Ouino

Ouino may not be the talk of the town just yet, but we think it's a hidden gem in the language learning world. The creators have clearly poured their hearts into it - you can tell they genuinely care about your Italian-speaking dreams, not just their bottom line. And with lifetime access for less than $100, the price is as tempting as a gelato on a hot Roman day. In short, if you're eager to start conversing like an Italian, we say, "Andiamo!" (Let's go!) with Ouino.

italki Review 4.5 Star Rating

italki

4.5 Star Rating
  • Affordable lesson prices with Professional Teachers ranging from $10 to $80 and Community Tutors from $5 to $80
  • Two types of tutors available: Professional Teachers for a structured learning plan and Community Tutors for conversation practice
  • New AI feature to create a personalized learning program
  • Teacher profiles include introductory videos and teaching materials
  • Flexible lesson durations between 30 and 90 minutes
  • Offers three trial lessons to help you decide
  • italki credits available for purchase to save on service fees
  • Discounted lesson packages offered by teachers
  • Free resources and exercises available in the community section
  • Tailored lessons to meet your specific language learning needs

italki differs from the other services in our review of online Italian lessons. While those services offer you self-directed lessons, usually designed like a game, italki does not create any lessons itself. Instead, it serves as a hub to connect you with Italian tutors who can create an Italian curriculum just for you.

Community Tutors are usually just as good as Professional Teachers

On italki, you can choose between two types of teachers: Professional Teachers and Community Tutors. Professional Teachers have formal training and can give you a structured plan to reach your goals. Community Tutors are there to help you with conversation practice. You need to know that Professional Teachers can set lesson prices from $10 to $80, while Community Tutors can charge from $5 to $80. Also, Professional Teachers can teach more types of lessons (Business, Test Preparation, Kids) than Community Tutors, who can only offer General lessons and Conversation Practice. Only Professional Teachers can list their work experience, education, and certificates on their profiles. That said, functionally, we don't see a huge difference between the quality of the lessons you'll receive from one type of teacher or the other. Plenty of Community Tutors are rated just as well by students as the Professional Teachers, so don't rule them out.

New AI personalized program creation tool

italki has just rolled out a cool new AI feature that helps you create a personalized learning program. When you sign up, you start by sharing why you want to learn Italian - we chose "brain training" . Then, during the learning program creation process, the AI offered specific goals aligned with that, like keeping the brain active, boosting memory, or supporting a learning disability through language skills. Then, we got to set our learning pace and duration - like 2 hours a week for 10 weeks, or 3 hours a week for 7. (To put it in perspective, studying 19 hours on italki is theoretically like doing a semester of university-level language learning.)

Best Italian Lessons

Lessons based on interest

The AI even helps you choose the focus for your first lesson based on your interests. For instance, if you indicated during sign-up that you were interested in art, it might recommend starting with reading and understanding articles about Italian art. Once you're done setting up, italki shows you teachers that match your preferred lesson time and focus. Then, all you have to do is pick a teacher and start your first lesson.

Teacher profiles include introductory videos and teaching materials

italki will show you personalized teacher recommendations, or you can explore popular teachers. italki teacher profiles give you a comprehensive overview of what to expect from a lesson. Arsena, for example, has four years of experience and makes learning Italian (and English, and Albanian) interactive and fun. She prepares lessons for each student, involving listening, writing, reading, and speaking exercises. She also uses a variety of teaching materials, like text documents, video and audio files, quizzes, and presentations. You can see this information in the "Me as a Teacher" and "My lessons & teaching style" sections. You can also check out the teacher's ratings, the number of students they've taught, the total lessons they've given, and their attendance rate. For example, Arsena has a perfect attendance rate and a 5-star rating from 406 students. Profiles also include brief introduction videos by the tutors to help you get a feel for their personalities and accents.

Lessons are between 30 and 90 minutes

Once you've found a teacher on italki that you like, you can easily schedule lessons with them. First, click on the "Book now" button. Then you choose the language you want to learn and the type of lesson - Arsena, for example, offers 30 minute trial lessons for $15, and general Italian lessons or Deep Italian Conversation lessons for $17 each. Next, you decide how long you want the lesson to be. (Every teacher offers 60-minute lessons, but some also include 30, 45, or 90 minute options.) You also pick the date and time for the lesson, which will be shown in your own time zone. Once you've made your choices, you select the tool you'll use to communicate during the lesson. Finally, send a lesson request and wait for the teacher to accept it. You can pay for each lesson individually or buy italki credits to use for scheduling lessons.

Best Italian Lessons

3 trial lessons before you need to make a choice

At italki, you can dip your toes in the language-learning pool with three budget-friendly trial lessons from different teachers. You'll get to try various teaching styles and materials, helping you figure out your learning preferences. It's best to let teachers know about your language skills and goals before starting to make sure they can design the lesson for your needs. italki stands behind their service with a satisfaction guarantee, even offering a refund if the trial lessons don't hit the mark. We've reviewed another language tutoring platform similar to italki (though not in this review of Italian online lessons), and, spoiler alert: it wasn't as impressive. They take all the dough from the trial lesson fee and a whopping 33% commission from other lessons. italki, on the other hand, doesn't charge tutors anything for trial lessons and only takes a humble 15% cut from regular lessons. It's clear to us that italki is the more fair and likable of the two.

Save on service fees by buying credits

italki credits are the virtual currency you use to buy lessons on the italki platform. You can either pay for each lesson individually (which incurs a small service fee) or preload your student wallet with italki credits to streamline the payment process. There's a slight benefit to buying italki credits in bulk because you'll save a bit on transaction fees, but the difference is minimal. Remember, if you cancel a lesson or if a teacher declines your request, you'll get a full refund to your italki student wallet. However, be aware that if your account is inactive for more than 12 months, any italki credits you've purchased will expire.

Save on lessons by buying Packages

Lesson Packages are bundles of lessons given by a teacher, often at a discounted rate. For instance, Arsena offers a package of Italian conversation, reading, listening, and pronunciation lessons at 5% off if you buy five lessons. These packages are paid for upfront and are valid for six months. You need to finish all your lessons before they expire. Once you've bought a package, you can't change the teacher or the length of the lessons. If you need to extend or terminate your package, be sure to talk to your teacher first. To schedule your lessons, you'll need to follow the instructions provided on the website. One of the benefits of buying a package is that since you're committing to a set of lessons, it can help you stay focused and consistent in your learning.

Best Italian Lessons

Free resources and exercises

Under the community section of italki, you'll find a bunch of free resources. This includes podcasts, exercises, and a platform for asking questions. The exercises are created by tutors and might involve filling in missing words or responding to prompts. Be sure to set the language filter to Italian so that you only see exercises related to your studies. In the questions section, you can ask or answer questions about Italian culture, grammar, or anything else you're curious about. This is a great way to learn from and contribute to the italki community.

A great choice for Italian lessons

Looking to learn Italian for work or school? italki could be your perfect match. Here, learning Italian isn't just about memorizing words for "cat" or "nose" , but where you take the reins and set your own goals. Need business lingo or academic jargon? Your tutor won't waste your time teaching you how to say "elephant" . They'll zero in on what matters to you. This means with italki you're not just learning Italian, but learning the Italian that's useful to you. We recommend italki as a great choice for Italian lessons because, no matter your skill level, your lessons will be tailored just for you.

Memrise Review 4 Star Rating

Memrise

4 Star Rating
  • Price: Starts free, with plans from $8.74/month
  • Desktop and app access
  • Offers AI chatbot for practice
  • User-friendly and engaging interface
  • Teaches useful phrases for real-life situations
  • "Learn with Locals" clips for immersion
  • Missed words added to "Difficult Words" for review
  • Good amount of content in the free version

Created by a team of friends who met while studying neuroscience at Oxford, Memrise is a platform that uses memory techniques, neuroscience, and innovative methods of second language acquisition to significantly simplify and speed up language learning. It's also fun to use.

Watch popular Italian music videos to gauge comprehension

On Memrise, you'll find Italian lessons that are made up of Scenarios, Videos, and Conversations. In Scenarios, you'll learn words and phrases based on different themes. For example, you might learn how to ask for directions, or talk about seasons and holidays. In Videos, you'll be shown clips that contain vocabulary you've practiced, ranging from 10-second skits to popular Italian music videos (sadly, we didn't spot any Maneskin). Then, in Conversations, you'll meet MemBot, your AI language buddy. This part will give you a chance to practice speaking and get feedback, helping you feel more confident when you start chatting with real people. We really like that Memrise doesn't make you level up before you can access more challenging topics. If you think you're ready to learn it, so do they.

Practice conversations with an AI chatbot

Memrise organizes its Conversation topics into "Missions". These can range from asking for local tips to meeting your partner's parents or choosing a Halloween costume. If you find yourself struggling during a conversation with the bot, you can ask for hints or use the built-in translation tool to convert your English sentences into Italian. Should a conversation seem too challenging, we'd encourage you to push through and use the hints as a learning tool. After completing a conversation, you can replay it and try to recall the hints you used earlier.

Follow your fun

You can spend as much time as you like hanging out in the Scenarios tab, watching Videos, or chatting with the MemBot - or you can go to the Home tab and complete tasks in the order Memrise recommends for you. You'll cycle through learning new vocab, reviewing it, chatting with the bot, and watching videos without having to make a choice about what to learn yourself. Any words you miss in a Scenario will be added to your Difficult Words for later review.

Best Italian Lessons

Teaches you phrases you can put to use

In addition to our research for this review, we at TopConsumerReviews used Memrise a few years ago to learn Italian ourselves. Even though we didn't complete the course, the phrases and vocabulary we learned have stuck with us since then. Encountering real-life situations from the scenarios Memrise employs often causes us to remember these phrases, like when checking into a hotel - Avete delle camere con vista mare? C'e il wifi? That's why we always prefer language courses that teach you phrases you may actually use in your everyday life, rather than silly phrases like, "The cat is in the oven" . (At least, we sure hope you wouldn't use that one in your everyday life!)

Speak like a native with "Learn with Locals" clips

One of the things we really love about Memrise is its "Learn with Locals" videos. These are quick video snippets, each lasting about 10 to 15 seconds, where native Italian speakers use phrases you're learning right in their natural environments. Imagine seeing someone order coffee in a bustling Milan cafe or asking for directions on the picturesque streets of Florence, with the famous Ponte Vecchio in the background. These videos do more than just help you get familiar with how Italian really sounds; they immerse you in the everyday culture of Italy and let you catch a glimpse of the places you might dream of visiting. It's like taking a virtual tour while sharpening your language skills.

Free version has a good amount of content

Even if your budget is zero for learning Italian, you can still get a lot out of using Memrise. We like that they let you filter out the paid content when looking at your dashboard. If getting rid of ads and unlocking all Scenarios, Videos, and Conversations is something you're interested in, you have a few different ways to pay for the Pro plan:

  • Monthly Plan: $22.99 per month
  • Yearly Plan: $104.79 per year (originally $130.99, equates to $8.74 per month, a 20% discount on Pro)
  • Lifetime Plan: A one-time payment of $124.99 (down from the regular price of $249.99, a 50% discount on Pro)

If that 50% off discount isn't there when you visit Memrise, just be patient - they run this deal frequently. We'd recommend you check back around holidays if you can't seem to catch it.

Best Italian Lessons

Memrise has undergone some changes recently

As longtime users of Memrise, we're sad to see some things phased out: for example, the ability to download lessons for offline learning. A lot of people prefer gamified apps like Memrise for learning on the go, and you won't always have access to cell service when commuting. In addition to this change, there has been uproar about the removal of Community Courses in early 2024. Previously, Memrise allowed users to create their own language courses, and you could find some really unique stuff there, from fictional languages like Klingon to more obscure regional languages like Scottish Gaelic. Many people feel like Memrise has lost sight of what made it so unique, and we would agree.

Still a great choice

However, we'd still rate Memrise well for Italian lessons. We found it easy to spend an hour or two a day on the app, and unlike some other gamified apps we've tried in this review, the vocabulary we were learning actually stuck with us for a long time after. For all of the reasons we've listed in this review, we give Memrise a high rating for online Italian lessons.

Italian Pod 101 Review 4 Star Rating

Italian Pod 101

4 Star Rating
  • Price ranges from $4 to $23 per month with options for different subscription levels
  • Offers comprehensive lessons focusing on practical expressions and native language use
  • Allows for personalized learning level selection or placement test option
  • Features organized "Learning Paths" for structured study, with the option to pick and choose topics
  • Course includes audio and video lessons, as well as assessments
  • Engages learners with entertaining and unique lesson topics
  • Provides downloadable content including MP3s and PDFs of transcripts and lesson notes
  • Offers a 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Regularly updates materials for fresh learning content
  • Suitable for self-directed learning and caters to advanced levels of Italian

With Innovative Language Learning, the parent company of ItalianPod101, you can learn not just Italian, but any of the 40 languages offered. Once you sign up for a free lifetime membership, you'll have access to the new learning materials added every week, so you'll always have fresh content to help improve your skills. Whether you want to talk about the latest trends or global events, you'll have the words you need. Plus, you can trust the quality because all content is approved by professional Italian speakers before being published.

Audio-focused lessons

Innovative Language, the creator of ItalianPod101, focuses on teaching practical expressions in a way that's similar to how native speakers actually use the language. Generally, each lesson starts with an audio conversation where a new language skill is introduced. The lesson then dives deeper into the cultural backdrop of the conversation, and other important language elements like key vocabulary, phrases, and sentence structures that you need to perform specific language tasks.

Take a placement test

When you start with ItalianPod101, you get to pick your learning level, which can be from Absolute Beginner (1) to Advanced Learner (5). Or, you can take a test that places you at the right level. To get a 7-day free trial of Premium, you do need to sign up first. Unfortunately, you can't see the lessons until you do. After the trial ends, you'll lose access to all the lessons and special tools unless you decide to buy a membership. If you upgrade during the trial, you'll get a 10% discount.

Follow a pathway or jump around

On your dashboard, you'll notice "Learning Paths." This feature organizes lessons into modules based on different topics. You can choose to follow these paths in order, or you can pick and choose modules that interest you. The dashboard might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but starting with the Learning Paths can make it easier. This structure can be a big help if you're not sure where to start. But remember, it's optional. If you prefer a more flexible learning style, you can skip around. Just note that the lessons aren't arranged by difficulty - they're grouped by topic.

Best Italian Lessons

Lessons revolve around audio

In the first level of this Italian course, you'll access 75 audio lessons, 3 video lessons, and 61 assessments. You'll also learn 493 new vocabulary words. The course matches levels A1-A2 of the CEFR, which are beginner levels. (A quick side note: we've heard that while the lessons start out very organized in the Beginner levels, the teachers have a little more freedom in the Advanced levels and some of that starts to fall apart.) In these lessons, you'll repeat words and phrases to help you remember them. Each 10-15 minute lesson has different types of content like audio, video, and documents you can print. The audio lessons can be taken anywhere and help you practice listening and speaking. Video lessons are like being in a classroom, with visuals to help you learn. The documents give you a chance to practice reading and review what you've learned. Completing the practice assignments and worksheets helps reinforce what you've learned and improve your fluency. Assessments are a way for you to check what you know and find out what you still need to learn.

Entertaining topics

Some lesson titles might make you laugh, but they're fun and unique. For example, you'll learn how to say "there is" and "there are" in a lesson titled "That's It! There Is No More Italian Ice Cream for You!" You'll master Italian transitive verbs in a lesson humorously called "She Beat Up That Little Boy!" And, you'll learn to use the future tense in a lesson about Italian Knock-Knock Jokes. In addition to these sillier examples, there are also lessons themed around scenarios you might be more likely to encounter in Italy.

$4 to $23 per month

ItalianPod101 offers three packages, each with its own benefits. With the free version, you can access the first three lessons of every pathway, get new lessons weekly, and have access to resources like the Italian Word of the Day and vocabulary lists. If you upgrade to the Basic level for $4 per month, you get access to all lessons and detailed lesson notes. For a little more money, the Premium level at $10 per month offers extras like assessments, audio dialogues, and flashcards. If you want the most comprehensive experience, the Premium Plus level provides personal guidance from a teacher and personalized assessments for around $23 per month. Keep in mind, though, that you'll be paying for two years up front with any of these plans.

Best Italian Lessons

You own what you pay for

One great thing about these Italian lessons is that you can download all of them - not just the MP3s, but also the PDFs of transcripts and lesson notes. This means you could download every single lesson when you first sign up. Even if you didn't renew your subscription, you could still keep using the lessons you downloaded.

A month to get your money back

If you purchase a subscription and find out you're not happy with it, don't worry. You can reach out to ItalianPod101 by sending an email to their customer service team to take advantage of the 60-day money-back guarantee. You can just ask for your money back, no questions asked and no problems.

We recommend them

ItalianPod101 might be overwhelming if you're not adept at self-directed learning, given the sheer multitude of topics they cover. That's a double-edged sword, though, because this is one of the few companies that have lessons for advanced levels of Italian. We also appreciate that the materials are regularly updated. The price is excellent for what you receive. Overall, this is a trustworthy company that we highly rate among the options for Italian lessons.

Babbel Review 4 Star Rating

Babbel

4 Star Rating
  • Starts at $17.95/month for basic features, $99/month for live classes
  • Offers over 225 hours of Italian lessons
  • Provides both self-study and live class options
  • Covers levels A1 to B2
  • Includes literal translations in lessons
  • Uses spaced repetition for vocabulary retention
  • Live classes go as high as C1 level
  • Offers fun games for learning Italian
  • Acquired Toucan extension for vocabulary building
  • Offers a 20-day money-back guarantee

Babbel offers you over 225 hours of Italian lessons and is a popular choice with over 10 million subscriptions sold. The method they use is backed by researchers at Yale University and has been shown to help 75% of Babbel users reach their learning goals. You might have heard about them through podcast advertising.

Offers live classes or self-study

With Babbel, you have two excellent options for language learning. You can choose self-study, which offers lessons you can take at your pace. This includes exercises designed by over 150 language experts, real-life language tools, podcasts, videos, games, and planning tools to track your progress. Alternatively, you can opt for Babbel Live, where you can take online classes with real teachers while also having access to all self-study materials. What sets Babbel Live apart is the opportunity to practice speaking with top-rated teachers in small groups, with classes available throughout the day that you can book even at the last minute, with no hidden fees. With some Italian learning apps, you might feel like you're learning because you're progressing through the course and getting great scores, but you might never really test your speaking skills. With Babbel Live, you won't be able to avoid actually speaking or understanding Italian.

Covers A1 to B2

Babbel lets you explore courses by level or topic. By level, your learning journey can start from A1.1 (Newcomer) and progress to Upper Intermediate (B2), with around 8-11 courses each at the early levels. The last level, B2, only has one course with seven lessons, but that's okay. Once you reach this stage, you're probably ready to continue your Italian study by exploring other resources like books or holding real conversations with other Italian speakers. By topic, the lessons are organized into the categories of Grammar, Listening and Speaking, Countries and Traditions, Specials (things like idioms), and Words and Sentences (specifically those that come up in everyday life. And remember, you're not tied to a strict lesson progression with Babbel. Feel free to follow your curiosity.

Literal translations included in lessons

In a typical lesson with Babbel, you'll guess meanings of words from pictures and challenge yourself by choosing the missing word in a sentence. You'll also build words by clicking on letters or combinations of letters to spell them. Towards the end of a lesson, you'll fill in the blanks in a short simulated conversation between two Italian speakers that contains both familiar words and new words to help you learn from context. We like that literal translations are provided, so for example, "buongiorno" isn't just translated as "hello," but also as "good day," its literal meaning.

Best Italian Lessons

Review uses spaced repetition

In Babbel, you have the chance to choose how you want to review your lessons. Whether you prefer flashcards, listening, speaking, or writing, it's all up to you. (We're really glad to see the writing option, because a lot of platforms limit review to selecting from a word bank, which is basically like having hints on every question that you can't turn off.) Babbel's method for promoting vocabulary retention is "spaced repetition" . This means you'll see a new word or phrase more or less often depending on how well you know it.

Six stage progression

There are six stages in total. When you first learn a word, it's at Stage 1. Every time you review it correctly, it moves up a stage. If you get it right, you won't see it for a while, anywhere from 4 to 180 days, depending on the stage. But if you make a mistake, you'll see it again the next day. If you make more than one mistake, it drops a stage and you'll see it again right away. This way, the stuff you find easy moves up and you review it less, while the tougher stuff sticks around until you've got it down.

Live classes go as high as C1

You can attend 2 free live Italian classes with Babbel before you'll need to buy a Live subscription. By going to the Live tab you can see which classes are coming up and what skill level and module they belong to - we even spotted some that go as high as C1. The title tells you the topic ("Talk About Wellbeing and Health", "Organize an Evening Out", "Comprendere Variazioni Linguistiche Regionali" ) and a countdown to when the lesson starts. Don't worry about getting lost in the crowd - the lessons are capped at 6 students, which we think is a good number that should let the teacher give everyone equal attention. The lessons are 55 minutes each.

Best Italian Lessons

Fun games to learn Italian

Some of the Italian language extras offered by Babbel are the podcasts we mentioned earlier and a couple of games, like "Phrase Maze" where you need to get sentences correct to help a professor, or "Word Trax" where you spell the word before a train runs off a track. You can also explore the Babbel magazine, which is full of articles about language, culture, and learning. It's a great way to immerse yourself in the language while also having fun.

Starts at $17.95 a month for basic features

Babbel is a bit costly compared to other apps you could use, even on the plan that doesn't include Babbel Live.

  • For all languages, a 1-month plan costs $17.95.
  • If you want to learn for a longer period, you can opt for a 3-month plan at $15.25 per month, a 6-month plan at $13.45 per month, or a 12-month plan at $8.95 per month.
  • If you're dedicated to learning languages for life, you can choose the Lifetime plan for a one-time payment of $349.

Babbel Live is $99 a month

Keep in mind, these prices don't include Babbel Live, which lets you take unlimited classes with real teachers and access everything the app has. Live has its own prices:

  • 1 month: $99
  • 3 months: $70 per month
  • 6 months: $60 per month
  • 12 months: $50 per month

Toucan extension for desktop acquired by Babbel

Recently, Babbel acquired the Toucan browser extension, which helps you, the language learner, to build and remember new vocabulary while you're browsing the web. This way, you can practice and see the words you're learning in the context of sentences, making them more meaningful. Toucan isn't just about memorization like flashcards; it's about seeing and using words in context. The tool even tracks which translations you've seen and how well you do on quizzes to help phase out words you know and bring in new ones. You can download Toucan on Chrome and Microsoft Edge web stores.

Best Italian Lessons

Learning with a tutor might be better

A 20-day money-back guarantee applies to all of Babbel's plans. Unfortunately, the price tag on Babbel Live makes us wonder if they have the best value for live Italian lessons. You might find that learning one-on-one with a tutor is a better use of your money than being one of six in a lesson on a topic that might or might not align with what you need to be learning at that moment.

Not the best fit for most people

Babbel's concept is cool - live lessons that you can join last-minute are definitely something you won't see often. While Babbel's core lessons are not as shallow as one particularly well-known competitor, we don't think these self-study lessons stand out much. They don't go as deep as some other services in our review, particularly on grammar. We also miss the native speaker videos some platforms have built into the lessons. Babbel Live just might be worth it for you if you're really committed to learning Italian and willing to do one of these calls multiple times a week, but for most people, we think Babbel could be too expensive to be practical. Still, for the wide range of features and learning tools it offers, Babbel's Italian lessons earn a solid rating from us.

Busuu Review 3.5 Star Rating

Busuu

3.5 Star Rating
  • Affordable Premium membership for $7.51 a month
  • Offers Italian courses from A1 to B2 levels
  • Pronunciation course for mastering Italian sounds
  • Interactive fill-in-the-blank activities with native speaker videos
  • Bite-sized lessons for easy daily learning
  • Certificate issued upon course completion for Premium learners
  • Review tool to focus on grammar areas needing improvement
  • Speaking and writing exercises with feedback from real Italian speakers
  • Competitive learning environment through Busuu Leagues

Busuu is a decently popular online language learning platform. It started in 2008 and was bought by Chegg in 2022. Busuu focuses on teaching you to use the language in real-life situations through interactive exercises, flashcards, and dialogues that show words in their natural contexts. One of the cool things about Busuu is that learners can check each other's work, creating a community where everyone helps each other learn.

A1 to B2

Busuu offers several Italian courses. The "All Courses" track covers levels A1 to B2 and is perfect for all learning stages. The "Complete Italian" course offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced lessons. If you're planning a trip, the "Italian for Travel" course teaches useful phrases. There's also a new "Italian Pronunciation" course to help you speak with more confidence.

Special pronunciation course

In the Pronunciation course on Busuu, you'll learn a lot about Italian sounds. Starting with the five vowels a, e, i, o, u, you'll find out how they can change the meaning of words. For instance, they can tell you if a word is about a woman or a man (italiana vs italiano), one person or many, or even if it's about you or someone else (parlo vs parli). You'll also learn about vowels with accents. Some lessons are paywalled and require a Premium account. For example, you can learn the different sounds of "c", "g", and "sc" in words like "ciao", "gelato", and "scusi". Plus, you'll learn about unique sounds like "gn" and "gli" in words like "gnocchi" and "moglie". Lastly, you'll learn to ask questions in Italian, using question words and the right intonation.

Fill-in-the-blank activities

Exploring the Complete Italian course, you'll notice videos featuring native speakers against a backdrop of Italian landscapes. We always appreciate these kinds of videos, because they keep you engaged and help train your ear to the authentic sound of Italian as it's spoken on the streets. The lesson structure often involves listening to a sentence, choosing the correct corresponding written sentence, and then listening to it again to select the correct word to fill in a blank. Once you select the right word, a translation of the entire sentence appears, sometimes accompanied by a useful grammar tip.

Best Italian Lessons

Literal translations would be useful

We would have found it more useful if more information about grammar was included. For example, knowing the literal translation of phrases could help you understand the language better. The phrase "bene, grazie" doesn't mean "I'm well, thank you". It actually means "good, thanks". Understanding this can help you begin to think in Italian more naturally.

Bite-sized lessons

After finishing a lesson on Busuu, we received a cheerful message informing us that if we stayed on track at that 1-lesson-a-day pace, we'd be able to finish the beginner Italian course in 77 days. This means that in a little over two months, you'll be able to introduce yourself, order food, have basic chats, and fill out personal details on forms - all in Italian. The lessons are pretty brief, though, so you could easily do that in half the time.

Might not be challenging enough

The lessons on Busuu might not be challenging you in the best way. Are the lessons really testing your ability to recall vocabulary, or just your skill at picking the right answer from a list? It would be nice if there was an option for you to use your keyboard to type in answers manually. This way, if you were to use the wrong conjugation of a verb or the wrong gender of an adjective, it would be marked as incorrect. But when you can only select answers from a list of words, the chance of making such mistakes is eliminated, and you might end up thinking you know more than you actually do. Unfortunately, very few online Italian courses let you toggle on your keyboard or make things more difficult for yourself, because they don't want you to get frustrated and stop using their app or website.

A1 level has 35 chapters

The Busuu Complete Italian course is divided into individual lessons that are grouped into chapters. For example, the first chapter focuses on introductions and the second chapter on nationalities. After getting through 35 chapters, you'll reach the end of the beginner's level (A1) with a chapter on holidays. Additionally, you have the option to skip some content. If you feel confident in your skills, you can use checkpoints at the end of each chapter to test your knowledge and move on to the next level faster.

Best Italian Lessons

CEFR certificates for Premium learners

When you finish a course level on Busuu, you get a Certificate as a reward for your hard work. This Certificate has your name, the level you've reached based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), your grade, the date you got it, and a summary of the Italian language skills you've shown at that level. But remember, you can only get these Certificates if you're a Premium learner. Certificates are available for Italian levels from A1 to B2. They're always adding more, so keep an eye out for new levels and Certificates.

Separate review tool

From the homepage, you can access Busuu's Grammar Review, which tracks your progress, identifying the areas you need to focus on. This is based on when you last practiced, the lessons you've completed, and your previous scores on grammar topics. To improve your Italian, the system encourages you to practice the areas you need, exactly when you need them. There are 16 categories you can delve into. For example, topics like distinguishing between masculine and feminine words, and forming singular and plural words.

Adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions - oh my

You'll also study different types of words, such as adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions. For instance, you'll learn how to use adjectives to describe things like "il gatto e piccolo" (the cat is small), or adverbs to express time, like "Vado a scuola domani" (I'm going to school tomorrow). You'll also explore different verb tenses, including the present, past, and future, and others like the imperative for giving orders, (for example, "Mangia la mela" - Eat the Apple). You'll also uncover patterns in Italian verbs and understand different types of sentences and phrases.

Get corrections from real Italian speakers

Busuu provides "Conversation exercises" where you can practice speaking and writing in the language you're learning. This feature can be found under the "Community" tab. Here, you can write or speak about a topic and get feedback from other users who already know the language. This gives you a chance to learn from your mistakes. You're also encouraged to help others by giving them feedback on their language exercises. You can correct someone's work directly and even leave a comment to explain your corrections or give encouragement. This not only helps them, but can also give you more confidence in your language skills and even make you new friends.

Best Italian Lessons

Compete to make it to the Opal League

On Busuu, after you finish 2 lessons, you'll be part of the Busuu Leagues. This means you'll join a weekly competition with up to 40 other learners trying to earn as many points as possible. You can earn points by completing new lessons, revising old ones, practicing vocabulary and grammar, and correcting other learners' exercises. The competition starts at 5am on Monday and ends the following Monday at 2am. If you finish in the top ten, you'll move up a League, but if you're in the bottom five, you'll move down. Don't forget, if you don't participate for a week, you'll stay in the same League. As a new member, you'll start in the Blue League and can move up through Bronze, Silver, Gold, and finally, the top Opal League. Getting to the Opal League is a big achievement, but the real challenge is staying there.

Premium for $7.51 a month

While there are some things you can do with Busuu for free, you definitely won't be able to forget you're using the Basic version thanks to long ads before lessons. With Premium, you won't see any ads, and you'll be able to access all lessons. This plan also offers personalized revision, quicker feedback from native speakers, and the ability to use the app without internet (Offline Mode). Plus, you'll get certificates from Busuu when you finish a course. The cost for a year of Premium is usually $257.64, but often, you can find deals that lower the price to $90.15, which works out to $7.51 per month. So, it's a good idea to wait for a deal before buying.

Might not be challenging enough

You might find that Busuu really helps get you started learning Italian at a beginner level. However, after you pass the A2 level, the course content may seem less comprehensive. The B1 level has half the lessons of A2, and according to users, there's no grammar review for levels beyond A1. You might also feel like there's not enough content overall. While you may enjoy the feature where native speakers review your work, the exercises could be more challenging. For example, tasks might only ask for you to provide 3 examples of basic verb forms, which you could easily check yourself.

A decent choice but not amazing

We think Busuu is a good tool to kickstart a daily habit of studying Italian, but it's nothing extraordinary. If you decide to use it, remember not to rely entirely on it. You also need to use textbooks, watch YouTube videos, and listen to podcasts to help you become fluent or comfortable in conversational Italian.

Mondly Review 3 Star Rating

Mondly

3 Star Rating
  • Price: $9.99 for one month, $47.99 for a year (often on sale)
  • App supports 41 different languages
  • Compete with other learners and track your progress
  • Free account option available with basic features
  • Dashboard with a variety of lesson topics
  • Premium account unlocks VR feature and AI chat
  • Premium account includes over 250 lessons on various topics
  • Premium users gain access to daily lessons, quizzes, and challenges

Mondly is a language learning app that claims you can "play your way to a new language". You can compete with other learners and track your progress, which can keep you motivated. The app supports 41 different languages and is used by 125 million people around the world. You can use it on any device you have. However, Pearson recently bought Mondly, which might not be a good change.

Not much to do on Basic

If you're interested in Mondly, you can start by creating a free account. You'll let them know your Italian skill level: beginner, intermediate, or expert. Then, you can try out a simple "Hello" lesson, chat with a bot, and do a daily lesson. These activities won't offer much, but they'll give you a feel for how Mondly works. Without a premium account, you can only do the free daily lesson after this, which takes about 5 minutes. Complete 7 of these in a week to unlock a Weekly Quiz. Complete all the weekly quizzes to join the Monthly Challenge. When you log into Mondly, you'll see a dashboard that looks like a map. Each icon on the map represents a different lesson topic, like weather or travel. You can pick any lesson you want, or Mondly will suggest a daily lesson that builds on what you've learned before.

Doesn't go very deep

Mondly's language program isn't the best for detailed grammar lessons or for advanced learners. The Italian lessons at all levels are pretty similar and even the advanced ones feel basic. When you finish a lesson, you can redo it or get a recap that might explain some of the grammar involved. When you tap on an underlined verb, you can view and hear its different conjugations. However, Mondly mostly expects you to learn grammar by feeling it out, rather than through direct explanation. This could work for you, but it really depends on how you like to learn and what other resources you have for learning Italian.

Premium account unlocks VR feature and AI chat

With a free Mondly account, you only get access to a few features, so it's more like a trial. Most users choose the Premium plan, which gives you full access to everything Mondly has to offer. As a Premium subscriber, you can use a chat feature to have conversations and an augmented reality feature to practice with a virtual "person". You also get more than 250 lessons on various topics, vocabulary builders, conversations between fluent speakers, grammar help, daily lessons, quizzes, and challenges. Plus, you can access all 41 different language courses.

Best Italian Lessons

Pricing is not incredible

Mondly has a few different options for Premium. You can pay $9.99 for just one month, or, if you want to learn for a year, they charge $47.99, which is like paying $4 a month. They also have a deal for learning 33 languages (which of the 41 are excluded? They don't say) for 12 months which usually costs a whopping $479.90, but sometimes goes on sale for $47.99. Before you buy, look out for these sales as they happen often. It doesn't appear that there's any kind of lifetime license, which is a downside.

Pearson acquisition might not be a good thing

Mondly was originally the product of ATi Studios, a software company from Brasov, Romania. However, in May 2022 it was purchased by Pearson. You might want to know that Pearson has a reputation of potentially not maintaining their software all that well. If you ask any college student how they feel about Pearson, you'll be sure to get an earful. And in their press release about the acquisition, Pearson talks a lot about their plans for using Mondly to teach people English, which doesn't inspire much confidence that maintenance of the Italian course will be high on their list of priorities.

Look elsewhere first

Mondly isn't the best choice for you if you're serious about learning Italian. It's pretty basic and the free version doesn't offer much. While there are no big problems with it, there are other options out there that give you a deeper understanding of grammar and might have better support for users. Even though it's not terrible, it's not something we'd recommend highly.

Rosetta Stone Review 3 Star Rating

Rosetta Stone

3 Star Rating
  • Starting from $15.99/month
  • Offers a lifetime access option with all 25 languages
  • Uses a combination of images and sounds for teaching
  • Units, On-Demand Videos, and Stories
  • Includes Phrasebooks to help navigate situations in Italy
  • Teaches basic words and phrases, gradually introducing more complex grammar

When someone mentions Rosetta Stone, you might first think about those big yellow boxes with CDs inside. These were pretty popular before everything went online and digital. You might also remember seeing ads for Rosetta Stone on TV or in magazines, promising to teach you a new language "the natural way." It claims to help you learn a new language through "immersion" , which means it tries to teach you in the same way you learned your first language as a kid - by connecting words with images and sounds, not through translating or memorizing grammar rules. If you think that sounds a little too simple to be true, you just might be right.

Not true immersion

Let's start by breaking down the claims about immersion. Language immersion means you're totally surrounded by the language you're learning, like at a university where you and other students sign a pledge to only speak in Italian or risk expulsion. That's total immersion. You could get the same experience by living and working in Italy. Just using a computer program like Rosetta Stone for an hour a day isn't the same as full immersion.

Rosetta Stone encourages guessing

Rosetta Stone uses a lesson structure similar to a slide show. You start by matching pictures to spoken words, learning basic things like "girl," "boy," "woman," and "man." Then, you learn basic actions like "walk" or "play," helping you form simple sentences. As you progress, the course gets harder, introducing you to more words and grammar rules. However, some of the phrases you learn early on might not be very useful. Also, Rosetta Stone encourages you to guess meanings, similar to how children learn languages. But you're not a child anymore. You already know English, so guessing can waste your time. Instead, you can understand new words and phrases immediately through translations.

Stories may be more frustrating than educational

"Explore All Content" yields 20 Units of Italian (ranging from Language Basics to Family and Community), On-Demand Videos (only 16 total), and Stories. In a story about a small farm (" La piccola fattoria" ), only some of the vocabulary words were associated with images, like a butterfly image when you hovered over farfalle. But what if you don't remember what fiori means (or Rosetta Stone never taught you) and there's no image for it? Either you look it up, or you scratch your head and move on. You have the option to have the story read aloud to you and then to speak it yourself, but that won't teach you what the words mean.

Best Italian Lessons

Rosetta Stone struggles with conceptual vocabulary

This approach especially doesn't work well when the vocabulary is more conceptual than physical. Rosetta Stone's offerings include Phrasebooks, meant to help you navigate situations you may come across in Italy. In one of these, the image associated with "Capisce?" is a woman looking at a menu. You could potentially figure it out from context, but think how long it would take you to speak fluent Italian if you had to puzzle over every word.

An expensive deck of flashcards

So how much would you be paying for the rosetta Stone immersion method?

  • 3 Months: $15.99/month, $47.97 total (1 language)
  • Lifetime: $199 one-time, down from $399 (includes all 25 languages)
  • 12 Months: $10.50/month, down from $13.99, $126 total (1 language)

While this may be good if you're interested in learning multiple languages, if you're only interested in learning Italian, this may not be a worthwhile deal. If you compare the monthly subscription cost, you'll find other services that offer more engaging features at roughly half the cost. For instance, one previous Rosetta Stone user stated, "I have used it and I absolutely hate it. It was like a $250 flashcard deck."

Better choices available

Rosetta Stone might not be the best choice for you if you're trying to learn Italian. It says it will teach you like you learned your first language as a kid, but you're not a kid anymore and you already know another language, so guessing at meanings can waste your time. Plus, just using this program for an hour a day isn't the same as being immersed, like Rosetta Stone claims. It's also quite expensive, and there are other programs out there that cost less and might be more fun to use.

Fluenz Review 3 Star Rating

Fluenz

3 Star Rating
  • Price for the complete program (Levels 1-5): $398
  • Specifically designed for English speakers
  • Focus on practical vocabulary from the start
  • Personalized video tutorials for guidance
  • Recording tool for pronunciation practice
  • Five detailed levels from basic to advanced skills
  • Cultural insights integrated into lessons
  • Lifetime access to purchased courses

Fluenz is a language learning platform created by Sonia Gil, an entrepreneur from Venezuela. She used her diverse experiences, from working in an Internet startup to studying plant genetics, to design a unique way of teaching languages. Unlike a certain other program that claims to immerse you in a new language (by throwing vocabulary at you with no translations), Fluenz helps you to use your English skills to understand and learn new languages more effectively. It does this through practical vocabulary lessons, interactive activities, and detailed tutorials.

Designed for English speakers

Fluenz Italian offers you a unique experience with hundreds of videos that explain how Italian works in detail. Your guide, Sophie Pera, a fashion editor from Milan, will help you understand Italian in ways that other programs can't. Many online Italian courses are made for speakers of all languages, but Fluenz knows that people who speak different languages learn differently. So, they've made their program especially for English speakers, with explanations that will make more sense to you. For example, if you're learning Italian, you'll start by connecting Italian grammar and sentence structure to what you know in English. This way, you're not just memorizing words, you're truly understanding the language.

Learn what you'll use

With one-on-one video tutoring and lots of practice exercises, you get to hear and compare your own pronunciation with that of a native speaker. The program focuses on useful vocabulary first, so you'll be ordering coffee in no time. Instead of drowning you in a new language without any lifelines, Fluenz leverages what you already know in English to help you understand the new language.

No way to try before you buy

The design of Fluenz's interface might be a bit outdated, like something from the early 2010s. There's no trial lesson, so you'll have to make your decision based on screenshots. These screenshots show lesson elements displayed over beautiful images of Italy. There's also a quick, 20-second video that shows you the different parts of the lessons, but it doesn't have any sound.

Best Italian Lessons

5 levels of lessons

Fluenz offers five levels of Italian learning. In Level 1, you'll learn the basics, such as introducing yourself, making travel arrangements, and simple Italian grammar. Level 2 strengthens your basic skills and helps you engage more, like making plans with friends, renting a car, and working with past tense verbs. Level 3 deepens your connection with the language: you'll be able to talk about family, hobbies, and express your goals. Level 4 opens new opportunities for travel and business, because you'll be able to tell childhood stories, handle money-related issues, and talk about Italian culture. Finally, in Level 5, you'll be ready to fully join the Italian community, engaging in advanced conversations about food and arts, dealing with legal issues, and telling stories in different past tenses.

All levels for $398

If you're thinking about learning Italian with Fluenz, they offer several pricing options. You can purchase their complete program, which covers levels 1 to 5, for a discounted price of $398. If you're just starting, you might want to consider the first three levels for $308. For those already familiar with Italian, levels 3 to 5 are available for $320. Individual levels are also available, with levels 1 and 2 each costing $187. If you want to combine levels, Fluenz offers a bundle of levels 1 and 2 for $258, and another bundle of levels 4 and 5 for the same price. If you're unhappy with your purchase, you can get a refund as long as it's within 30 days.

They don't share enough info

Because Fluenz doesn't offer any trial lessons, we can't really say much more about it. Users are generally happy with Fluenz, and their Spanish immersion retreats have some high-profile, trustworthy client testimonials (including Adriene from Yoga with Adriene on YouTube). However, that doesn't tell us much about the Italian course. We like how extensive the course is (5 levels covering basic to complex topics), but we can't give you any information on the pacing of the video lessons, whether the exercises are fun, and if the software is easy to navigate.

Duolingo Review 2.5 Star Rating

Duolingo

2.5 Star Rating
  • Free language-learning platform
  • Game-like lessons for engaging and fun learning
  • Units based on various themes like "Describe your family"
  • Progress tracking system with trophies and gems as rewards
  • Duolingo Stories for practicing reading and listening skills
  • Competitive Leaderboards feature where you can compete with other users
  • Assessment tests available for placement in appropriate lessons
  • Streak feature to encourage daily learning
  • Can be used on various devices: iPhone, Android, or a computer

Duolingo is a free language-learning platform that uses game-like lessons to teach a variety of languages, including Italian. It's designed to be engaging and fun, with rewards, competitions, and a progression system.

Units based on themes like "Describe your family"

Duolingo's home screen works like a pathway you can follow step by step, with each circle representing a level. When you press a level, you start a lesson, with about 5 lessons in each level. Your progress through the lessons is shown on the ring around the circle. The pathway is divided into units that introduce new ideas, like using the present tense or talking about your family. At the start of each unit, you'll find a guidebook full of helpful tips and phrases. A trophy awaits you once you complete all levels in a unit. You'll see chests along your pathway, which give you gems when you open them. These gems can be earned through completing levels, earning experience points (XP), and other achievements. Your streak, or the number of days you've completed a lesson without a break, will increase by one each day.

Learn with Stories

Duolingo's stories and recurring characters will also be part of your learning path. Duolingo Stories are a cool way for you to earn points while practicing your reading and listening skills. As you go through each story, you'll face challenges that keep learning interesting.

You have to test into lessons

One minor gripe we have with Duolingo is that it doesn't allow you to jump to topics that interest you. You can take a test to move up to a certain level, but this is an extra step that other Italian language courses don't require. It's less straightforward than other options, and you might miss a few vocabulary words that will pop up elsewhere in your later learning.

Best Italian Lessons

Compete against other users

At Duolingo, you can also join a fun competition called Leaderboards, where you compete with other players in a league. You earn points, called XP, by doing lessons, practice, stories, and more. Every week, the top players win a promotion to a higher league. The leagues, from lowest to highest, are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, Pearl, Obsidian, and Diamond. If you're one of the top three in the Diamond league, you stay there. Just remember, you need to do a lesson to join a league, and the competition starts every Sunday based on your device's time zone.

Start from scratch or by taking an assessment test

If you know a bit about Romance languages, you might find the Italian assessment test on Duolingo easy. Why? Because the test only requires you to match words from a given list, not type anything. This makes it easier to guess the correct answers. However, this raises questions about Duolingo's effectiveness. If you can score well on a placement test for a language you don't speak, what does that say about what you'll actually learn in the Italian course? You might get answers right and progress quite far into the course, but would you be able to use those phrases in real life without a word bank? In our experience with Duolingo, the answer is no. Some exercises may prompt you to fill in the words on your own, but the vast majority have you choosing words from the ones provided (and they're really not that hard to guess).

Italian course doesn't get much attention from the team

Because Italian is not as popular as other Romance languages, the Duolingo team doesn't devote as much attention to it. Users have reported several problems, like increasing mistakes as you move further along the course. For example, you may find sentences that an Italian speaker would never use in real life. Second, there are issues with grading. Sometimes, the course marks correct answers as wrong, and vice-versa. It's also inconsistent in requiring the use of personal pronouns in sentences where they're not typically necessary. Sometimes, it only accepts one gender in sentences where the gender isn't even specified, or it can require an answer in the "voi" form for a "you" sentence without indicating this requirement.

Best Italian Lessons

Not enough on its own

You might find Duolingo useful, but it's not enough by itself. It doesn't explain grammar well and only offers small bits of information (found in unit Guidebooks) that aren't built into the lessons. You might struggle with basic grammar until you use other resources - like the "Easy Italian" videos on YouTube by Joy of Languages.

Duolingo's popularity is disproportionate to its effectiveness

So why is Duolingo so popular? It's designed to keep you playing, much like games like Candy Crush. Duolingo runs on a freemium model, so they make money by showing you ads or getting you to upgrade. Many people use it to pass the time, to feel like they're doing something productive. Because of this, Duolingo tries to keep the difficulty level low. If it's too challenging, people might stop playing, which would cause them to lose money. Duolingo also keeps you hooked by giving you daily goals and rewards that make you want to keep playing. It even ranks you on a leaderboard to stir up your competitive spirit. While these features can keep you engaged, they may not help you learn as much as you think. For instance, people on the Duolingo subreddit often stress about losing their "streak" when they miss a day, but remember, missing a day doesn't erase what you've learned.

A good starting point, but don't get addicted

Duolingo is a great free resource for acquiring some basic vocabulary and establishing a habit of daily language study, but we wouldn't recommend using it beyond the first few units to learn Italian. Instead, take a more advanced course, listen to Italian music, watch Italian videos, or try reading a book in Italian to continue your learning.

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Continued from above...

If you're someone who likes a clear and structured plan, there are courses that mix video lessons, quizzes, and even writing tasks. This way, you can get better at reading, writing, speaking, and listening to Italian, all in a balanced way.

Prefer talking to real people? You can connect with native Italian speakers through tutoring services. They can talk with you in real time, which is a great way to learn how people actually use the language and learn more about Italian culture.

Whether you're drawn to Italy's enchanting cities, passionate about its cuisine, an admirer of its contributions to art and music, or simply looking to connect with family roots, learning Italian can enrich your life in myriad ways.

Imagine strolling through the cobbled streets of Rome, ordering gelato in flawless Italian, or enjoying the operas of Verdi and Puccini in their original language. Or perhaps you're an avid cook, eager to dive into authentic Italian recipe books without the crutch of translations. Learning Italian can also be a stepping stone in your career, especially if you're involved in fashion, architecture, or the culinary arts, industries in which Italy holds a prestigious position. Moreover, for those with Italian heritage, learning Italian could be a bridge to understanding your ancestry and connecting with relatives in a more meaningful way.

When comparing the process of learning Italian to other Romance languages, like Spanish, there are a few unique aspects you might encounter. Italian's pronunciation is often more straightforward than a language like French, with most letters having a consistent sound, which can make speaking it a bit easier for beginners.

However, Italian has its share of challenges, such as the use of gendered nouns and a plethora of verb conjugations, aspects that are also present but differ slightly in Spanish. The musicality of Italian, with its emphasis on the flow and melody of speech, offers a distinct learning curve but can be incredibly rewarding to master.

Not sure where to start? Think about these things as you weigh your options:

  • Your starting point. Are you brand new to Italian or do you know a bit already? Pick lessons that match where you're at.
  • How you like to learn. Do you prefer using apps, listening to audio, or sitting down at your computer? Choose a format that fits your routine and how you learn best.
  • What skills do you want to focus on. Do you want to get better at talking and listening, or are you more into reading and writing? Or maybe you want to work on everything! Knowing this will help you choose the right lessons.
  • Different Italian accents. Some programs might teach a specific regional accent in addition to the standard Italian that's used all over Italy. Italy's full of different accents, but everyone understands standard Italian.
  • Cost. Some lessons are free, while others cost money either upfront or through a subscription. Think about what you're willing to spend and what you get from free versus paid lessons.
  • What other learners say. Look for reviews from people who've used the lessons before. Their experiences can tell you how effective the lessons are and how quickly you might learn.

To steer you towards the best Italian lessons that align with your goals and preferred learning style, our team at Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated today's leading options and provided honest feedback on what each one offers. So, what are you waiting for? Start your Italian learning journey today!

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Italian Lesson FAQ

As many as 85 million people speak Italian as their native language. Besides Italy, it is an official language in Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City, and Italian has official minority language status in Croatia and Slovenia.
Yes, but the one you'll learn and hear spoken most widely is the Tuscan dialect. Anywhere you travel in Italy, you'll be understood if you speak in the Italian commonly taught in schools and used in Italian media. But, with more than 30 regional variations of Italian, some of which are mutually understandable and some that are not, don't panic if you venture into Sicily or the wine region and find yourself struggling to grasp what's being said!
Good news: Italian is one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn! Because English borrowed from Romance languages (like Italian, Spanish and French), people studying Italian find a lot of familiar words and grammatical concepts. If you put in the time and effort, you should have no problem speaking Italian as fluently as you like.
Start with the type of vocabulary you'll need for your intended use of Italian: travel, business, family history research, and so on, Italian uses gender for nouns, so memorize which ones are masculine and which are feminine (because it doesn't always make sense!). Another great tip for studying any language is to watch movies and TV shows with the captions on: you'll pick up accents, phrases and even some slang without even realizing it!
Italian is a fun, popular language, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to find in-person classes near you. On the other hand, online lessons are plentiful and you can study whenever (and wherever) you prefer, at a price that is almost always much less than tuition for a college course.
Fortunately, the Italian alphabet is the same as English, with the exception of accented vowels. If you're using a smartphone, holding down the base letter (a, e, i, o u) will usually pop up all of the available options for accents. On a computer, you can use an online Italian keyboard that lets you click on accented letters, or you may be able to use keyboard shortcuts.
They're surprisingly affordable. You can find month-to-month subscription plans for anywhere from $6 to $25, depending on the platform and features, or one-time purchases for under $250 for multiple levels of Italian lessons in one package. Either way, you'll be able to learn Italian for much less than you'd pay for a college course.
Yes, sometimes. If you're on a monthly subscription, you can usually cancel future payments with no penalty but you might not get your money back for previous months. With one-off purchases, you often have a 30- or 60-day trial period in which you can request a refund if you're not satisfied with your Italian lessons. We always suggest that interested students look for sample lessons or free trials; most platforms want you to know exactly what you're getting beforehand, so that you can choose the Italian lessons that are the right match for your goals and your learning style.
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