Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful languages in the world, Italian claims about 90 million first and second language speakers, mostly concentrated in Italy and surrounding countries like Switzerland. Like French and Spanish, Italian is a member of the Romance language family and is considered to be one of the easier languages for native English speakers to learn. Combine this with the fact there are abundant materials for learning Italian and suddenly this becomes a very attractive language to learn. For those who learn Italian there is usually a strong cultural or historical attraction as well. Learn Italian to appreciate the cuisine, history, art, architecture, and influence of the Italian speaking peoples and their Roman ancestors.

Online Resources

FSI Italian is a course offered by the Foreign Service Institute

Duolingo is a popular language learning platform and they offer Italian. Check out the review here.

Coffee Break Italian is a podcast-like program which has well received by users.

BBC Italian has an online Italian course albeit it is no longer updated

One World Italiano has so much Italian language information it is slightly overwhelming.

Online Italian Club has tons of lessons for different levels of Italian

Italian Course - Beginners Series is a video series with over 60 videos on Italian langauge

Online News

La Stampa

la Repubblica

Corriere della Sera

Top Products

Living Language Italian
This book and audio program has 3 workbooks and 9 audio CDs which get progressively more challenging. Highly recommended.

Pimsleur Italian Conversational Course
Pimsleur is an all audio program for language learning. The Italian Conversational course has 16 lessons, each 30 minutes long, for a total of 8 hours. If you like the method you can graduate and buy the full version, which is significantly more expensive.

Fluenz Italian
Fluenz is a software program which has been well received by language learners. It uses a tutor system rather than pure immersion like its competitor Rosetta Stone. It may or may not be available in your country.

Italian Made Simple
This book has many reading exercises but also includes basic grammar and lots of vocabulary. Answer key included. Good for someone who already has some Italian background or the motivated beginner.

Total Italian - Michel Thomas
Michel Thomas products are pure audio programs and the method is tutor-like, in that you are listening to a teacher teach two students (with you being the third).

501 Italian Verbs
Includes the full conjugations of 501 Italian verbs. Also includes extensive information on verb usage, example sentences, grammar notes, audio CD, and a translation of over 1000 verbs.

Italian: A Self-Teaching Guide
This book is meant for the self-taught learner of Italian and includes 15 lessons incorporating vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and cultural notes.

Italian Now! Level 1: L'italiano d'oggi!
This is an introductory textbook for high school and college students. Includes topics like basic vocabulary, grammar, and verbs in addition to various exercises.

Italian Short Stories For Beginners
Eight stories in Italian to help the learner with reading comprehension and vocabulary acquisition.

Where Can I Study It?

Middlebury Language School provides an immersion Italian program

University of California - San Diego offers a BA in Italian Studies

University of Texas - Austin offers a BA in Italian

Arizona State University offers a BA in Italian

University of Florida offers a BA in Italian Studies

Famous Speakers

Leonardo da Vinci
Probably the most famous man from Renaissance era Italy. His knowledge spanned varieties of subjects and he is considered one of the greatest thinkers ever. He was also a prolific artist as he painted the Mona Lisa.

One of the famous Italian painters.

His artistic talents spanned a number of mediums and he is widely considered one of the greatest artists of all time. He famously painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and sculpted the statue David.

Grazia Deledda
She won the 1926 Nobel Prize for Literature

Andrea Bocelli
One of the most famous Italian musicians internationally.

Marco Polo
The Travels of Marco Polo chronicle Polo's travels in near and far Asia.

Amerigo Vespucci
The Americas take their name from this man. He determined that the American continent was not the Indian continent as originally thought.

Christopher Columbus
Often credited with discovering the 'New World'. Although many scholars believe the Icelandic speakers beat him to it.

Niccolo Machiavelli
Machiavelli was involved in many activities during his life. In the west he is famous for writing The Prince.

Cultural Products

La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language
Author Diane Hales recounts her whirlwind adventure to master the Italian language. She brings over 25 years of Italian learning experience to the table while she discusses all things Italian.

Sprezzatura: 50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World
Find out 50 of the most important contributions to the world made by the Italians. It is written in chronological order and includes subjects like music, dance, politics, and even calendars.

Italianissimo: The Quintessential Guide to What Italians Do Best
This book contains 50 small essay on various Italian subjects such as sunglasses, motorscooters, men, women, food, fashion and even olive oil. Beautifully presented with colorful photographs too.

The Silver Spoon
This bestselling Italian cookbook was published in Italy in 1950 and remains a classic to this day. The newest edition includes over 2,000 recipes and hundreds of full color photographs.

Putumayo Presents: Italian Cafe
Italian cafe music by world music company Putumayo. Artists include Giorigo Conte, Fred Buscaglione, and Renato Carosone.