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Learning Italian

Does anyone have any suggestions for leaning Italian as part of a trip to Italy?? I was thinking of a half day session each day for a week. In Italy of course. Thanks

Posted by
593 posts

My husband does both. He skypes with his Italian tutor in Rome for two hours every week (and there is homework) and he often finds an evening tutor while we are in Italy. In the early days of learning Italian, he also got all of the Italian language learning DVDs out of the library and listened to them in the car.

To answer your question, he enjoyed the Istituto Michelangelo classes in Florence every morning for a month.

Posted by
59 posts

In many towns of any size you will be able to find a language school, just look on line. Having said that, and assuming that you currently do not speak Italian, I would recommend that you prepare before your trip by using a language learning program such as Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur. Using these tools you will learn pronunciation and a basic vocabulary so that your lessons in Italy will be more productive.
I have used both of these programs and found them to be helpful, but there is nothing like learning one-on-one with a native Italian speaker.

Posted by
17355 posts

If you can somehow make a direct connection with a teacher, the cost will probably be a lot lower than if you go though a language school. It's like other services--the company will keep a good-size chunk of your payment. I haven't found it easy to locate individual teachers on my own when I first arrive in a city. The local tourist office can usually identify language schools.

Posted by
1118 posts

Any level of learning will make for a much richer trip, but a week won't make much difference - your brain can't change that fast. If you have studied Spanish or French in the past, you will have a head start, but the pronunciation must become automatic and that takes time - even in Italian with its easy rules. Start now and do some each day. There are courses on YouTube as well.

Posted by
17 posts

I have been using an app on my phone called Duolingo. It is free, and could give you a head start before you reach Italy. Bouna fortuna e buon divertimento. (Good luck and have fun).

Posted by
230 posts

Check out Saena Iulia in Siena.

You will see you can customize your lessons. Mauro leads a really wonderful community...Tuesday evening Apertifs on the piazza, Wednesday field trips to a variety of sites, Friday communal lunch at the school.

PM me if you have questions.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks everyone for their responses. We are retired so we have the time to spend in Italy to try to learn.

Posted by
72 posts

I use a podcast called Coffee Break Italian. For about 15 minutes at a time the teacher offers great little Italian basics that always help me get ready for a trip to Italy. He is Scottish and his accent helps make it fun. He does dialogues with a partner and it is really easy to follow and its free.

Posted by
19 posts

I've been teaching myself Italian and have found these things quite helpful;

One World Italiano
A youtube series from Veronica, who runs a language school in Cagliari. While some of the early videos are rough in technical quality, they are made up for by her enthusiasm and good teaching.

Buongiorno Italia
An old BBC Series uploaded to Youtube. Old graphics, old look, but frankly, I think very, very good. There is also a textbook that goes with this. You can find a second-hand copy at

Learn Italian with Lucrezia
Also very good. More low-key than Veronica

As for language lessons, if you are going to be in the South, there is this one in Lecce. I was seriously considering doing it, but our plans changed a bit:

Posted by
169 posts

Here's another vote for getting started before you go. I found "live" classes much more effective than audio or online education. Local community colleges often offer inexpensive "Italian for Travelers" courses, as well as 100, 200, 300 equivalent courses. That's how I got started. You can also find a tutor through these programs. Try Meetup as well for beginning conversation classes. Public libraries often have language-learning resources to borrow, albeit on cassette tape. Another source of leads is your local Italian-American social clubs and Catholic church (lots of immigrants happy to share their culture and language.) Some public high schools have Italian language programs for kids and adult continuing education for language learning both during the day and after work. This could be another potential source of tutors. Finally, depending upon where you live, an Italian consulate or honorary consul can be a source for leads and/or classes.

Posted by
17355 posts

I, too, have done much better with classes than trying to learn languages on my own. I had the opportunity to compare the class experience with the same language, once when a language lab and take-home tapes were available and once when the learning was classroom-only. I found having the tapes to take home (I assume it would be CDs today, or perhaps some sort of internet link) and practice with made a lot of difference. Because I knew I'd be returning to class, I was pretty diligent about taking advantage of the take-home resources.

Those of retirement age should check to see whether they qualify for reduced or no tuition at state-supported colleges.

Posted by
6 posts

Finding Italian classes in US can be difficult unless you have a large university in your town. I prefer not to be going to school while in Italy. We are heading to Italy in 2 weeks for almost 5 weeks, 4 in Florence. I began studying through Babbel 5 months ago and am very impressed with their format and limited interactive speaking assistance via their app. While taking classes is a better option, this has worked well, very reasonable cost. It will not make me conversational or fluent as have not made it a full time activity - an hour or so a day, It certainly will aid in reading and some basic communication. I do speak some Spanish so the system makes sense. Downside is thinking in 3 languages which can be confusing. Buona fortuna.

Posted by
8293 posts

If you live in or near a city where there is an Italian Consulate, inquire about language lessons.. Some years ago I took such lessons at the Consulate here in Montreal. Cooking lessons, as well. It was great fun and even allowed us to attend the garden party at the Consulate to celebrate the Italian National Holiday.

Posted by
1646 posts

The Italian Institute of San Francisco is moving all of its spring classes, normally held in-person, online. The instructors are all native speakers living in San Francisco. They offer several levels of Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced classes.

These are not inexpensive classes:
Beginner (Levels 1-4): 10 week course, 2 hour classes, $330 (+ $10 non-refundable registration fee).
intermedia (Levels 1-3)/Advanced: 10 week course, 2.5 hour classes, $420 (+ $10 non-refundable registration fee).
Cost of textbooks is not included in tuition.

I do not work for the institute, nor have I ever. I am a fan, based on having taken their entire series of classes over the course of a few years, with many of the teachers still on the schedule. The classes enabled me to hold quite in-depth conversations with family in Sicily - with a few laughs thrown in when I would still get it wrong, or didn't know the word for something that any 3 year old Italian kid would know!

Their classes are not normally held online, so this is an opportunity driven by the times.

Posted by
12 posts

Duolingo has proven better than Rosetta Stone for me! I also got a cd/book kit at Barnes and Noble, but also available online, called Learning Language (I think?) and it's great to listen to in the car. I have learned so much for my now canceled trip to Italy in April. 🤦‍♀️

Posted by
34 posts

You could also consider to do a workaway experience in italy. I would suggest to start to study online and make language experience in Italy