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Sight-seeing at the ancient ruins of Pompeii, a romantic gondola ride along the canals of Venice, or a visit to the art museums of Florence: if you're dreaming of a vacation to Italy, you would be in good company among the 94 million tourists who visit annually. In addition to being able to ask for directions or order your dinner without a hitch, there are many benefits to learning Italian before your trip.
If you're after a unique, more authentic experience in Italy, speaking the language can help you gain a deeper understanding of the culture, become friends with locals, and give you the confidence to explore places off the beaten track. Plus, Italian is an official language of other popular travel destinations, including Switzerland, San Marino, Slovenia, and Malta.
Saturday, October 1st
Spend any time listening to the radio these days and you'll probably hear an ad for a language learning platform called Babbel (not to be confused with "babble" or "the Tower of Babel" !). The company was founded in 2007 and aims to help learners like you get on "the shortest path to real-life conversations" . And, it works: most students using Babbel say they felt comfortable having a simple back-and-forth interaction after using the platform for a few hours.
Lots of Italian lessons at all levels
Babbel offers one of the widest ranges of content we've found among many programs with Italian lessons: start all the way at the beginning as a Newcomer, in the middle as an Intermediate student, or go right to the Independent level and learn how to debate current events and topics! There are a total of six levels on the Babbel platform, each with its own set of lessons. For example, as a Newcomer you'll find two Courses, seven lessons in the first and 11 in the second; at the Pre-Intermediate level, there are five courses, each with nine lessons. Yes, that is a lot of content!
Your way, right away
And, beyond the leveled instruction on Babbel, you can also take specific courses for refreshing knowledge, grammar lessons with drills and exercises, countries and traditions, words and sentences, and listening/speaking exercises. Your language, your way: Babbel lets you select whatever you need.
Live classes with just 5 other students
Italian is one of four Babbel languages with the option for taking live classes. Access to the app features is included with any Live plan, so your only cost is what you pay for the classes themselves. You'll get unlimited class sessions no matter which payment plan you choose: $99 for month-to-month, $209 for 3 months, $359 for 6 months, or $599 for 12 months. Babbel Live never has more than six participants in any class session, and you can find instruction across all levels (Newcomer/A1 all the way through Advanced/C1). You book your classes online (preferably a few weeks in advance, to make sure you get a spot) and get small-group speaking practice with certified teachers. If being able to speak fluent Italian with a near-native accent is a top priority, you'll definitely want to consider using Babbel Live in conjunction with the app!
Create an account for free, try a lesson
When you create a free account with Babbel - either by clicking on the demo button at the bottom of the "About Us" page or by selecting Italian from the dropdown menu and clicking on "Start Learning" - you'll be asked some questions about why you're learning Italian and how much time you plan on committing to your studies. You'll then get access to a dashboard where you can check out the subscription options, learn about Babbel Live, or try a free lesson.
Change your level anytime
Not sure what level is best? Babbel has placement tests that can be accessed under the "Find your learning level" link. You can take Babbel's recommendation or choose your own: it's completely up to you. The first lesson is free for all six levels of Italian, so if you feel like you got in over your head (or you're underwhelmed!), you can change your level and try the next one up or down.
Plenty of listening, speaking, writing, reading, and grammar
No matter which one you use, your lesson will usually start out with some listen-and-repeat exercises; make sure you enable your microphone when prompted. Next, you'll get an unscramble-the-letters to generate those same phrases you learned, followed by a free-response section for added practice. Grammar lessons and cultural notes are peppered throughout your learning on Babbel.
Review how you like
Once you've worked your way through a lesson or two, you'll get prompts to review what you've studied. Babbel makes this review very flexible: you may want to do a quick flashcard session, do a listening exercise, or practice your Italian accent. Whatever you're in the mood for, you can do.
Membership costs vary
How much will it cost to get access to the full lesson content on Babbel? After many visits to the site, the best we can say is "it varies" . If you're a student, active/retired military, or a healthcare worker, your lowest price will come through the discount links at the bottom of the Babbel homepage. For everyone else, expect that your subscription will cost between $27-$42 for a 3-month plan, $46-$84 for a 6-month plan, or $75-$168 for a full year. Those costs represent the everyday pricing on the higher end, and discounted pricing on the lower end. Babbel has frequent promotions at the top of the site, and you can also expect discount offers in your inbox if you don't subscribe right away after signing up for the free account. All of Babbel's app subscriptions come with a 20-day refund policy.
5-star reviews from more than 12,000 users
Babbel gets lots of praise from students who have used it to learn Italian and many other languages. It's hard to argue with 12,000+ five-star reviews! A few customers complained about the short satisfaction guarantee period, especially the ones who didn't realize that their subscription would renew automatically at the end of the term, but those details are clearly spelled out on Babbel's site.
Obvious choice for well-rounded Italian lessons
Babbel offers the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to Italian lessons. You won't find another platform with as much content for all levels of fluency, and that covers all of the bases of reading-writing-listening-speaking-culture-grammar. Babbel is effective and affordable, easy to use and well-liked by tens of thousands of students across the globe: the obvious choice for a first-place ranking among providers of Italian lessons today.
If you're trying to learn Italian, being able to speak it well is probably a priority - whether you're planning to use it to travel or to talk with your cousins in Tuscany. While most traditional Italian lessons come up short in the verbal fluency department, italki excels at helping students become comfortable and quickly improve. How? By letting you choose from nearly 1000 Italian tutors who will work with you one-on-one at your convenience.
Community tutors and professional teachers
As you browse the available Italian instructors on italki, you'll see that there are two designations: community tutor and professional teacher. As you might guess, the latter refers to those who have some kind of formal background in teaching, maybe even a PhD, while the former is used for those who enjoy working with people learning Italian but they don't necessarily have any certifications or professional experience as an Italian instructor (outside of the italki platform, anyway). That doesn't mean you won't have a great time with either kind of Italian lessons; it's just a way of knowing the background of each person you're considering.
A few filters to narrow down the options
You can also sort the available instructors by price, availability, country of residence and other languages they speak. We wish that italki had a tool to sort them by student ratings and experience level too: some tutors are brand-new or just have a few completed lessons under their belt, while others have successfully worked with thousands of students.
Detailed tutor profiles with intro videos
Every tutor has an extensive profile you can read through, and most include an introduction/welcome video. It really helps you get a feel for each tutor's personality, how they approach teaching, and, maybe most importantly, how easily you can understand them in English! After all, even the most skilled Italian professor isn't going to be of much use if you can't understand what they're telling you! As you browse, you can mark any potential matches with the heart, to save them in a favorites list for later.
Click on profiles for maximum info
We love how detailed each profile gets. For example, when we looked for a tutor with lots of experience, we found the profile of Valentina Stella. With over 4,300 completed lessons and a perfect five-star average from her students, this community tutor offers her own unique method to devise a study plan for each learner. Playing her intro video let us hear her speak in both English and Italian, and we came away feeling very reassured that she would be able to help us learn. We could see in her profile that she uses songs, vocabulary memorization, grammar study and pronunciation practice to teach the language. And, it was hassle-free to click on her calendar, check availability, and book a lesson. (We were able to get one scheduled the very next day.)
Reasonable hourly rates, discounted trial lessons
How much will it cost to use italki? That depends on the tutor, and often on the type of Italian lessons you prefer. Most teachers offer a reduced-cost trial lesson, so that you can see if it's a good fit for your personality and your goals. Beyond that, you'll pay an hourly rate that is set by the tutor, usually somewhere between $5 and $40. In the case of our example teacher, Valentina Stella, she was offering a one-hour intro lesson for just $1, but her hourly rate was $41.37. That's definitely on the high end for italki; most tutors' hourly rates tend to fall in the $10-$20 per hour range.
Nothing impersonal about Italian lessons here
But, italki students across the board say that it's absolutely worth the money. We had a hard time finding anything other than five-star ratings for the tutors themselves and for italki as a service. Tens of thousands of students use italki because it helps them prepare for travel, get solid conversation practice, and receive in-depth, personalized feedback on their progress. That's vastly different from an impersonal language learning app, which often doesn't explain why something is a mistake or accurately measure the fluency of your accent.
You'll need a good internet connection
The only reason italki doesn't get our first-place ranking is because it's heavily dependent on having a solid internet connection for the video calls. These aren't Italian lessons you can study on the go, and it would probably be challenging to have a tutoring session if you use the internet at a library or cafe somewhere. There's also the fact that many students will be hesitant to learn Italian face-to-face with a native speaker - at least, until they see that no, the tutor won't mock them for pronouncing something in a weird way or using the wrong word. It requires some courage to take Italian lessons this way, but it's incredibly effective (and usually pretty fun too).
Best Italian lessons for spoken fluency
Unless you have the ability to spend a month or more in Italy, italki is the best way to develop your fluency in Italian. This platform is perfect for any current level of ability from beginner to advanced, the lessons are affordable, and the instructors deliver Italian lessons tailored to you and your needs. If you've got the courage to work face-to-face with a real, live person, we highly recommend you try italki on for size!
Rocket Languages' Italian program is an immersive learning experience that will have you hitting the ground running. With speaking exercises from lesson one onward, you'll learn to use basic phrases like, "where is the train station?" and progress to participating in complex conversations about Italian culture. With Rocket Languages, you can learn your way: delve into thorough grammar explanations, master several different ways to start a conversation, or pore over writings on Italy's history and customs.
What you'll get in each level of Italian lessons
Each level within the Italian package contains:
Other course features include the My Vocab vocabulary builder, the Phrase Finder, progress tracking, lifetime course access, and three "Survival Kits" that help students quickly master targeted vocabulary within specific conversational situations.
Free trial and 60-day satisfaction guarantee
Rocket Languages is so certain that students will be satisfied with their program that they offer a four-lesson trial completely free - no credit card required. And, within 60 days of purchasing access to a course, customers are guaranteed 100% of their money back if they are unsatisfied for any reason.
Italian lessons that teach all modalities of language, plus culture
Plenty of people have experienced the frustration and inefficiency of the traditional classroom language-learning experience, but Rocket Languages' blend of visual, audio, reading and writing activities will keep you engaged and entertained until fluency. We love Rocket Languages' well-rounded approach, emphasis on cultural knowledge, and their commitment to customer satisfaction.
Not much for anyone besides beginners
On the other hand, Rocket Italian doesn't go much beyond a beginner's level of Italian: students with more experience won't find anything here to challenge them and keep them progressing within the language. Plus, compared with other Italian lessons, Rocket is very static: there are no updates with vocabulary related to current events, no new features, nothing. Granted, the Italian you need when you're just starting out is pretty static, so why reinvent the wheel just to teach numbers, colors, and introductions?
Beginners should give Rocket a try
There's a lot to be said for a holistic approach to teaching any language, one that includes all of the modalities of speaking, listening, reading and writing, and Rocket Italian excels at covering those bases. And, it's a good choice if you don't want to pay for a month-to-month study program. We suggest trying the free guest account and from there, you can decide if Rocket Italian is the right way to start your Italian learning adventure.
Ouino is one of the newest ways to learn Italian, with the company getting its start in 2021. We're guessing the name comes from the French word for "yes" and the Spanish word for "no" - two of the four languages taught here - which also sounds like "we know" in English...but the service is noticeably tight-lipped about their origins, staff, or really anything else about them.
Try it free, no registration required
However, Ouino's got no secrets as to how their service works. To try their Italian lessons, you don't need to give them your email address, subscribe to a one-week trial membership, or anything else: you can watch videos that walk through every component of their language instruction system. Better yet, just click on the yellow Try It Free button and test it out for yourself. From Verbs & Conjugation to Vocabulary, Conversations, and more, you can see exactly how these Italian lessons work.
Every imaginable feature
And work they do. There are so many features included in Ouino's Italian lessons, it's hard to cover them all. For example, when practicing a basic verb, essere (to be), you can hear it conjugated in the present tense, in complete sentences, fast or slow. Then, using the options at the top of the page, choose a learning activity: simple practice (easy), conjugation match (average), or write it out (very hard). We tried the simple practice and felt overly proud of ourselves when we got a gold medal - but Ouino knows that tracking errors, being able to practice missed questions and add errors to flash cards, and working to get a faster time are all ways to boost students' efforts.
Track your Italian learning on- and off-platform
Ouino uses a calendar to track your Italian learning activities: the ones you do on the platform are automatically entered, but you can also enter listening, reading, watching, speaking, and writing activities that you complete elsewhere. There are badges that unlock as you learn, and progress trackers to show you how many activities you've done, how many days you've been using Ouino since you started, and so forth.
Suitable for any fluency level from beginner to advanced
These Italian lessons have plenty of material for every fluency level. Many programs don't go much beyond the basics of introductions, numbers, present- and maybe past-tense verbs, but Ouino is extremely thorough. We spotted every verb tense we could think of, all the way to subjunctive and conditional, with over 400 lessons overall.
Too new to have much student feedback
Because Ouino is so new, it's hard to tell what students think about the platform. On the Ouino site, it referenced 500+ reviews across all four languages they offer, with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately, it didn't give access to those reviews, provide quotes or testimonials, or offer any way to verify those ratings. We found very few comments elsewhere from actual OUINO users: eight in one place, a few more in another, and so on. The comments we found were universally positive, but we'd still need to see a lot more than that to feel completely confident in OUINO's success rate as a language instruction provider.
Budget-friendly, plus 60-day refund policy
And yet, given how affordable these Italian lessons are ($38.97 for 3 months, $59.94 for 6 months, $83.88 for 12 months, or $95.76 for lifetime access), it almost doesn't matter how long the company has been around. They also offer a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, promising a refund if you don't love Ouino's Italian lessons as much as they think you will.
Extremely promising and worth trying
In all honesty, we're very excited about Ouino for language learners. It seems to take the best elements of most of the Italian lessons in our review and put them all in one place. We're holding back that last half-star in the rating until the company has been around a little longer and we can get more feedback from students who've used it for a while, but we definitely encourage you to give this platform a try for your Italian learning!
What is Busuu? Besides being an endangered language from Cameroon, it's a good language platform for learning Italian (or many other languages). According to an independent study, you'll get the equivalent of a college semester of learning after spending at least 22 hours using Busuu's Premium features. Not bad, wouldn't you agree?
Over 150 Italian lessons across 4 difficulty levels
There's a staggering amount of content available on Busuu's Complete Italian lessons. At the A1 (Absolute Beginner) level alone, you'll have 111 lessons covering topics that start with the usual greetings and introductions, and then progress all the way to office tasks and household chores while introducing past tense verbs. There are a total of four levels of study (A1, A2, B1, B2), allowing you to progress to where you can discuss financial topics, literary genres, cause and effect, and even flirting.
Placement test or choose your own level
Where should you begin? If you've studied Italian before, you can give Busuu's placement test a try when you set up your free account (email address or mobile number required). You can always change your level if you need to. There's a lot you can get for free here, including the complete first lesson for beginners, Ciao!, which includes greetings and introductions.
You'll need a paid plan for the most features
But, as you click through further lessons, you'll soon see that many features are locked unless you pay for one of Busuu's two paid memberships, Premium and Premium Plus. For $9.99/month, you'll be able to get unlocked features like offline learning and in-depth grammar lessons. The most perks are at the Plus level for $13.99/month: you can get your Italian mastery certified through tests by McGraw Hill, receive feedback on your spoken and written Italian from native speakers in the Busuu learning community, and have a personalized study plan created for you. Also, a paid plan is necessary if you want to use Busuu to study more than one language at a time. You can save money if you choose to pay for 12 or 24 months in advance. Memberships have a 14-day refund policy and renew automatically at the end of the term unless you cancel ahead of time.
Travel-focused Italian lessons available too
If you're hoping to learn just enough Italian to be a confident traveler, check out Busuu's Italian for Travel course. You can find it by clicking at the top where it says Complete Italian and then selecting the travel course in the dropdown. Why learn how to introduce the members of your family when what you really need to know is how to order an espresso, right? There are 11 total lessons in the Travel course, and you can always switch over to the Complete materials if you want to keep learning later.
How about pronunciation help?
And, for any Italian learners, Busuu's pronunciation course can be helpful. In seven short lessons, you work on vowels, the two sounds of the letter "c" , how to change your intonation to indicate a question, and so on. Both the Travel and Pronunciation courses are similar to Complete: you'll get access to some lessons and features with your no-cost account, but it'll take a membership to use all of them.
Could use more activities to practice speaking Italian
Where we feel Busuu is a little lacking is in opportunities for speaking practice. Even in the pronunciation course, the entire first lesson never asks you to say any of the vowels it's teaching/reviewing. Where most Italian lessons have speech recognition components built in, we never found any of that here. In fact, the only place we found the chance to say anything in Italian and get feedback was in the Social section of our dashboard, where we could respond to prompts like "describe this picture" or "tell about where you live" and wait for a native speaker to comment and/or correct us. On the other hand, some of the language platforms that offer voice recognition are notorious for accepting terrible accents as near-native - or being overly sensitive and failing to count audio samples that most people would say are "good enough" .
A good all-around resource for learning Italian
Busuu is one of a small number of Italian lessons that offers advanced content beyond beginning levels, and the only one we're aware of that lets you get official certification of your fluency. We also like that students can move around through lessons and topics at will, focus their studies just on travel-related vocabulary, and interact with native speakers to get corrections on their spoken and written Italian. Give this service a try with their free basic account and see how it works for you!
Created by a team of passionate linguists, Memrise's game-like platform prioritizes the inherent joy of learning. Why drill-and-kill with yawn-worthy verb conjugations if you can study Italian in a much more entertaining way?
Game-like format makes learning a pleasure
You'll never find a long-winded explanation of grammar or a clunky, old-fashioned phrase like the ones you remember from out-of-date high school textbooks in Memrise's Italian course. Instead, you'll be taught immediately-relevant words and phrases through the thousands of Memrise's "Learn with Locals" video clips. They are just what the name suggests: amusing 10-15 second clips of native Italian speakers using the coursework phrases, filmed in locations like shops and cafes or in front of tourist spots like the Colosseum. Not only will you have the chance to tune your ear to authentic Italian accents, you will also absorb aspects of Italian culture and become familiar with the scenery.
Seven levels of lessons categorized by topic
Memrise's Italian program is made up of seven levels in increasing degrees of complexity. (Note: anyone can create a course on Memrise, so be sure to select the official Italian course at the top of the page.) You do not have to complete the courses in order or finish one to gain access to the next level. Each level contains lessons organized by subject, including topics like Falling in Love, Technology, Dealing with Hotel Troubles, Heated Confrontations, and Talking About the Future.
Memrise's algorithm determines which of your new Italian vocabulary words need work, using different exercises like speaking, listening, writing, and flashcards to help it stick in your long-term memory. Newly acquired vocabulary is indicated with a seed icon to the right of the exercise screen while a word that is "fully grown" in your memory will be signified by a flower.
Learn and play your way
Memrise gives its users full autonomy over how their learning sessions go. Maybe you want to spend an entire lesson watching native speaker videos, half an hour reviewing your Difficult Words, or ten minutes brushing up on your listening skills - or, maybe a mix of everything is more your speed. Whatever your learning style, the choice is yours.
Free access to all lessons
With most language learning programs, there is typically a free trial period after which you have to pay to retain access to the whole course. When you sign up with Memrise, you get the entirety of the course material for free, forever. There is one catch, though: you won't have access to all of the exercises (Learning with Locals and Speed Review specifically) or the ability to do them in the order you prefer until you upgrade to Memrise Pro.
Memrise regularly runs promotions, so keep your eyes open for 50% off deals for Yearly access. Your purchase is also covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee, in the event that you try the Pro subscription and later decide that you don't want to continue as a paid subscriber.
No in-depth grammar explanations
The only reason you might not choose Memrise is the lack of detailed grammar explanations. Sometimes, you just want to know why the words are in a certain order or when you conjugate a verb one way and not the other - and you won't get that here. That's refreshing for some learners but frustrating for others.
Fun and affordable
Besides that, though, Memrise can be trusted to deliver Italian lessons that you'll enjoy. The native speaker video clips add a degree of authenticity to this platform that you won't get with most of Memrise's rivals. This platform is fun to use and gentle on your wallet: an option worth trying as you learn Italian!
Rosetta Stone may have been the first (or the only!) name that came to mind when you first thought about taking Italian lessons. Remember the days when you could only buy it on CD-ROMs from a mall kiosk? (That is, if you're old enough to remember shopping malls....) Back then, these language courses were some of the most expensive around - but not anymore! Today, you can get access to Italian or even to all of the languages in the Rosetta Stone catalog for a low monthly price or a one-time cost.
Set up a free 3-day trial
Rosetta Stone would be more than happy for you to take the plunge and subscribe to their language lessons, but you probably want to try it out first. To get a three-day free trial, choose Italian in the dropdown box at the bottom of the homepage and enter an email address. You'll immediately be taken to the questions needed to set up your account, which includes your current level of fluency in Italian, if any, and your purpose for learning the language (so that Rosetta Stone can put you in the learning track with the vocabulary that corresponds to your needs). You'll then be taken to the study plan that matches your answers, but you can change it at any time if your learning goals change.
Speech recognition is important here
One key component of the Italian lessons on Rosetta Stone is speech recognition. Before you go into your first lesson, you'll have to specify if you're an adult male, adult female, or a child: your voice profile will be set to match that.
Learning through immersion, not instruction
Unlike many language courses that use English to teach grammar and vocabulary in Italian, Rosetta Stone uses an immersion approach. What does that look like? With every language they teach, including Italian, you can expect the very first lesson to start out with images of boys and girls, men and women, paired with simple verbs like "drinks" , "eats" , "runs" , and "reads" . The idea is that, over time, you'll naturally start to recognize the differences and pick up on the structure, like gendered nouns and singular vs. plural verbs.
Familiarity makes it easy
Because Italian uses the same alphabet as English and many of the words are already familiar, this immersion-based structure tends to work fairly well. (We can't say the same about languages like Russian or Chinese, though!) But, if you're looking for English translations, detailed grammar explanations, or fun cultural lessons, you're not going to get that with Rosetta Stone's Italian lessons.
A little lacking in content beyond beginner level
It's not made super-obvious, but you can move around in topics as needed. Go to the link of "Explore All Content" in the dashboard to see any extras you might like to use or to choose a lesson with vocabulary you want to learn. During your 3-day free trial, we really encourage you to click through as much as you can, so that you'll have a good feel for what Rosetta Stone's Italian lessons offer - and what they don't. For example, if you've already studied Italian for a while, you may not find much here to challenge you: despite being advertised as suitable for beginning to advanced students, the topics definitely don't go much beyond a first-year Italian course (best evidenced by the lack of inclusion of any verb tenses beyond simple present and past).
More economical than ever before
On the upside, Rosetta Stone has never been so budget-friendly. You can pay $35.97 for a 3-month subscription to their Italian lessons, $95.88 for 12 months, or pay a one-time fee of $299 for lifetime access to all of the languages in the Rosetta Stone library. You may even get more savings; during our many visits to the site, we've spotted several discounts, one of which included lifetime access for just $179. And, all three options are protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee, getting you a full refund in that first month if you change your mind.
Good choice if you want immersion-based beginner Italian lessons
Rosetta Stone does immersion language instruction like no other, and if you learn best by studying intuitively their Italian lessons might be a great fit. However, for students who like the comfort of learning from the perspective of English, who want direct explanations of grammar, or who need more advanced content, Rosetta Stone isn't going to cut it. Be sure to use the free trial as much as possible before committing to a paid plan here.
Innovative Language Learning teaches 40 different languages, including Italian, in their Pod 101 programs. When you sign up for a free lifetime membership, you'll be able to study any of the languages they offer (or just stick to Italian, your choice). A big plus with this service is that content is added weekly, giving you the vocabulary you need to discuss current events and pop culture and to keep you learning new things. All of the content on Italian Pod 101 gets reviewed by certified Italian language professionals before being published to the site.
Could be more transparent at the start
We frequently evaluate all of the Pod 101 languages, and they all have a lot to offer. One part that never seems to change, though, is how tricky they make it to see how they work. You won't get to see much about how Italian Pod 101 will teach you Italian until you sign up for a free account. True, you only have to do that once and then you have free access for life - not just to Italian but to all of the 40+ languages in the "family" - but it feels a little secretive. Why not just come out and let people see what you've got, Pod 101?
Almost too much content to navigate easily
Maybe they don't come right out and show you because there's just too much to display! Getting started with Italian Pod 101 can feel overwhelming: there are five language levels to choose from, ranging from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and your Italian lessons are structured as "pathways" You'll get one recommended for you: it defaults to Absolute Beginner, but you can take their placement assessment or manually select your desired fluency level. You can have more than one pathway in your to-do list at a time; that's great if you have multiple topics you'd like to study, or if your skills are already leveled-up in one area but you need some review in another.
Three paid membership levels
What do you get in a pathway? That varies based on the topic and the difficulty level, but you usually get a real-life situation dialogue and its transcript in Italian and English, a vocabulary list, and cultural notes. But, those features aren't unlocked for every lesson: they're usually open for the first three lessons in a series but not the rest. In order to unlock them you'll have to choose among Italian Pod 101's membership levels:
60-day refund policy
No matter which subscription you ultimately choose, you'll be covered by a 60-day satisfaction guarantee. Do you have plans to study Italian for a long time? If so, it might make the most sense to go right to the Premium Plus membership on a two-year plan and make the most of the first 60 days. That will give you everything you could possibly get out of Italian Pod 101 in terms of features, offering the most accurate perspective on how these Italian lessons will work for you. And, if it doesn't wind up being what you wanted, no harm no foul: just request a refund before those 60 days are up.
A little on the expensive side, but solid Italian lessons overall
Italian Pod 101 gives you a well-rounded approach to studying Italian, and we really appreciate the constant content refreshers: not many Italian lessons stay so up-to-date with the materials they offer. It's also one of just a handful of programs that has lessons appropriate for such a wide range of fluency levels. But, many students get bogged down trying to figure out the right pathways for their studies unless they buy into the Premium Plus membership - which is quite a bit more expensive than Italian Pod 101's most comparable rivals' Italian lessons. This program is worth a look, even if it might not wind up being your first choice.
Some people want to learn Italian with a fun app that lets them get bite-sized chunks of practice in, wherever and whenever. Mondly can do that for you! Available as both an app and a desktop platform, this program gives you points for every lesson you complete, shows you your local and global rank against other learners, and motivates you to keep up the momentum in your studies.
A few basic features with a free account
To get a feel for the Mondly service, create a free account. You'll have to indicate if you're a beginning, intermediate, or advanced student of Italian. From there, you can try out the "Hello" starter lesson, one chatbot conversation, and the daily featured lesson. It's not much, but it will at least let you see how Italian lessons are taught by topic and how the program works.
Not much direct grammar instruction
When you finish the lesson, you can click on Redo for more practice or on the blue box to the right, where you'll get a lesson recap and maybe an explanation of the grammar that was behind the scenes of what you learned. That's the only place you'll find direct grammatical explanations: in general, Mondly expects that you'll pick up on the grammar more intuitively, without any formal instruction. Maybe, maybe not: depends on how you learn best and on what other Italian resources you're using, if any.
Subscribe and access more features, like augmented reality chats
Mondly has much more to offer once you become a subscriber. For instance, the chatbot feature that lets you practice back-and-forth conversations is only available as part of the intro lesson until you pay for a Mondly membership. Ditto that for the augmented reality capability, which lets you superimpose a digitized "person "onto the world around you and use that to interact with and practice your Italian.
Affordable - if variable - pricing
Is it worth the money? Mondly is pretty affordable, especially compared with other Italian lessons we evaluated. However, what you'll actually pay depends on Mondly's whims of the moment. No exaggeration: we found different pricing every time we visited over the course of a few weeks. More often than not, the "regular" price is $9.99/month, $47.99/year, or $89.99 for lifetime access to all of Mondly's 30+ languages. (It may even be as high as 41 languages, but again, we found differing information throughout the site.) Still, to pay under $90 and get lessons in Italian, Portuguese, Russian and dozens more languages is unbeatable.
Can't get your money back
Downside? There's no refund policy here. So, if you bite the bullet and pay for that lifetime access and decide you really need something different, you're out of luck. All the more reason to get Mondly's free account set up and try absolutely everything they offer before deciding to upgrade to a paid membership, wouldn't you say?
Not bad, but not awesome either
Among language apps for taking Italian lessons, Mondly is decent. It's a solid way to get daily practice, especially if ranking on a leaderboard makes the difference between "I don't feel like studying" and "I just need a few more points to beat that guy" . We'd prefer to see a more extensive free trial, so that more advanced learners can see if Mondly offers anything for them, or at least a satisfaction guarantee that lets people get a refund. For all of those reasons, Mondly earns a rating that puts them in "good but not great" territory.
Some Italian lessons throw you right into the deep end, immersing you in the language and expecting you to just figure it out as you go. Not Fluenz! This platform takes the exact opposite approach: why not use the language you already know (English) and use it to make your learning much less stressful? Originally used to teach English speakers Mandarin Chinese, Fluenz can help you learn through five levels of Italian lessons.
No subscription required
Fluenz doesn't make you subscribe to get high-quality instruction in Italian. Instead, you purchase the levels you want to study and you can use them for...well, forever! You can purchase just one level at a time for $187, two levels for $258, a package of three levels (1-3 or 3-5) for $308 or $320, or get all five for a one-time cost of $398. You might also get extra discounts via email if you give Fluenz your email address: we spotted that opt-in as a pop-up while we browsed the site.
Five levels of Italian lessons
What will you get in each level of Fluenz' Italian lessons? Level 1 starts with the basics, like typical travel scenarios such as getting a taxi or asking for directions. Level 2 delves more deeply into Italian grammar, gives you the words and phrases you'll need to make plans, say what you like and don't like, and several other topics. Levels 3-5 continue to build your fluency; once you finish all five levels, you should be able to have a longer conversation about current topics, to tell stories about things that happened in the past, and understand a lot of social media and internet posts.
Clear explanations in English
We're glad that Fluenz offers a way to learn Italian that capitalizes on the learner's fluency in English. Some programs require learning by immersion and often copy-paste the same lessons across multiple target languages - often forcing vocabulary that feels irrelevant and doesn't lead to genuine conversational ability. In contrast, Fluenz builds each of its language programs from the bottom up, highlighting the uniqueness of the source culture. You don't have to make dozens of random guesses, hoping that you've figured out what the word or phrase is saying and why: Fluenz explains Italian directly, and helps you gain comprehension by mapping it onto the English words and grammar you already know.
No free trial or sample lessons
But, one big downside to Fluenz is the lack of any kind of trial-basis access or sample lessons. There are a few images on the site that show what the app looks like, but the only way to really know how Fluenz works is to pull the lever and buy the Italian content levels you want. While we're glad that the company gives customers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, providing a refund upon request, it's just not enough. Most language instruction platforms let you try before you buy in some way, putting Fluenz at a disadvantage.
Advanced content - or not?
This really comes into play when you consider that Fluenz Italian is described as having an advanced level of content. Looking at what students have said and considering the description of what's covered in Level 5, Fluenz stops with teaching verbs in the preterit and imperfect. That's really more of an intermediate fluency level, not advanced. If you're coming to Fluenz with a decent level of experience with the language already, you probably will be disappointed by what you get here if you're expecting more complex vocabulary and grammar.
Needs a little more to rank better
Don't get us wrong: Fluenz isn't a bad way to study Italian, especially for beginners. It's one of the only options that provides instruction in the context of English for faster learning in Italian, no guesswork required. It's risk-free to buy Fluenz' Italian lessons because of the 30-day refund policy, but many prospective customers will be put off by the absence of a free trial or a sample lesson. We hope that Fluenz offers that in the future, which would definitely help these Italian lessons move higher in our rankings.
Maura Garau founded CyberItalian in 1997, after serving as the Director for the Italian Language Program affiliated with the United Nations. She wanted there to be an all-encompassing option for learning Italian: one that would have choices for self-study or for working with a tutor, with emphasis on both communication and grammar and plenty of cultural insights too. CyberItalian emerged as one of the very first online Italian language programs.
Learn Italian... by cooking?!
CyberItalian believes that the best way for you to truly learn the Italian language is not just through reading, writing, listening and speaking. Their activities are expansive, including games, songs, video clips, authentic recipes and even research. They're spread across numerous topics, ranging from art and cinema to music and tourism. These Italian lessons do an admirable job of teaching you the context of the language, not just random sentences and repetitive verb conjugations.
Try three lessons for free on the website
There are three content levels here: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each level contains 20 lessons, and you can try the first lesson in each level for free. There's no need to create an account: access the sample materials right on the CyberItalian website. If you decide to continue your learning, you'll pay just $4.95/month to keep going at your own pace (no contract required).
Class sessions and personal lessons available too
If you'd like a little (or a lot) more, CyberItalian offers tutored courses for 6, 8, or 12 weeks, as well as one-on-one private lessons. You'll pay anywhere from $99 to $149 for the course, or $239 for six 1:1 lessons. Either option gets you special assignments with homework correction, personalized feedback from your teacher, and a certificate upon successful completion. This seems pretty spendy, especially when looking at other Italian lessons available today that offer feedback from instructors for much less money.
Heartwarming but sadly outdated
Plus, these Italian lessons don't seem to have changed much since 1997. What was probably very novel before the turn of the century just feels outdated now. We love that this program isn't just a copy-paste language factory like you'll find with some Italian lessons, but the interface alone will have you looking elsewhere pretty quickly.
Better options out there
If you're interested, spend some time browsing the site and taking advantage of the free lessons, then compare your experience with CyberItalian to some of our more highly-rated Italian lessons. If you're like us, you'll want to love this program, because it really does have heart. But in the end, we suspect you'll feel a stronger connection with a more up-to-date Italian lesson platform.
Italian is spoken by 63-85 million people around the world. Among tourists planning Mediterranean getaways, adults who want to find a use for their high school Latin, and people interested in reconnecting with their roots, Italian continues to be a popular choice for avid and casual language learners alike.
Aside from hopping on a plane and spending time in Italy, what's the best way to learn the language? Some of that depends on you! Are you most comfortable learning in a more traditional, structured way, with detailed grammatical explanations in English and lots of exercises for practice? Or would you prefer a smartphone app that you can use when killing time during your day, to do a quick flashcard session of key words and phrases? There are Italian lessons for each approach - and there's nothing stopping you from using several different services to get a good mix of materials.
Besides the overall teaching style, what other factors should you consider when deciding how to learn Italian? Keep these criteria in mind to help you choose:
To help you get the most out of your studies, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's best options for online Italian lessons. We're sure this information will help you find the right path for your language journey. Buona fortuna!
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