There are many good podcasts that you can use to improve your listening comprehension skills in Italian. Some resources I’ll mention are aimed specifically at language learners, others are simply podcasts in Italian.
For easier reference, I’ve divided them into free and paid resources for less advanced learners and Italian podcasts for more advanced language users.
You should also check out our post of the best apps for studying Italian.
Manu of Italy Made Easy is the creator of my favorite online Italian courses. He’s also created a free Italian podcast in which he speaks in slower Italian. On his website, you’ll find downloadable audio files, transcriptions, comprehension exercises, and quizzes which are all available for free.
Episodes are typically around 10-15 minutes and are narrated entirely in Italian. They cover a variety of interesting topics related to Italy, such as Italian weddings, Christmas in Italy, and Italian inventions.
Coffee Break Italian is quite good for beginners. There are three hosts of the show, including Katie who’s learning Italian along with the listeners. This makes it a bit easier and can make you feel more comfortable as you see what it’s like for someone else also learning the language. You’ll see the mistakes and learn alongside her.
The episodes contain quite a bit of drilling and new topics are introduced slowly. It’s an excellent podcast, especially for those that may be a bit hesitant or intimidated by learning Italian. The paid courses include lots of extras like video lessons, detailed notes, and bonus audio but the audio lessons are completely free.
Stefano of Fluent Simple offers several different resources for Italian learners on his website. Among these are his Ripeti Con Me course, and two podcasts – News in Slow Italian and Italian Short Stories.
The episodes for both of these podcasts are brief, typically lasting 1-2 minutes long and are narrated entirely in slow Italian. On the website, you can find written Italian and English transcripts for each recording, making them easier to study. The topics are pretty interesting and ideal for intermediate level learners of Italian.
This is a good tool for intermediate and upper intermediate students. The recordings in Italian are slower than in a normal podcast but there’s almost no English. Apart from helping you practice listening comprehension skills, you also learn a lot about Italian culture. The website also includes transcripts for each lesson, making it easier to check your comprehension as you listen along.
This podcast gives you an opportunity to listen to a native speaker, who talks about very diverse topics. There are transcripts available for listeners along with translations of difficult phrases. The content is fairly limited and not regularly updated but it’s of really good quality. It’s worth trying if you’re intermediate in Italian but may be a bit challenging for beginners, even though he says otherwise.
Cher from 30 Minute Italian can offer you over 200 hundred episodes of a really good podcast. The recordings are mostly in English so a learner of any level can handle them. They’re entertaining and provide learners with useful language tips and vocabulary. Interestingly, the episodes tend to vary in length and aren’t all 30 minutes long. Unfortunately, the podcast is no longer being recorded.
This entertaining podcast is recommended for upper beginners and intermediate students. At the same time, it’s quite challenging for these levels as it’s all in Italian. If you don’t mind spending a decent amount of time with a dictionary, give it a go. Otherwise, wait till your Italian is a bit more advanced before trying it.
This podcast recently passed the 100 episode mark and is regularly releasing new content. Based on conversations in Italian, this podcast would only be suitable for Intermediate or advanced learners due to the lack of English used in the episodes.
This 22 episode podcast was brought to you by the University of Texas Austin. There is a dialogue that you can listen to and download the PDF transcript of. The grammar is broken down exceptionally well. It’s just a shame that there aren’t more episodes available.
This is one of my favorite resources for learning Italian and you can find out why in this in-depth review. This podcast releases a weekly recording of slowly read news. It’s quite a cool tool to improve your vocabulary about many topics, including current affairs. It’ll also help you to get the gist of the language present in the news.
News in Slow Italian groups its recordings according to Italian fluency level. From beginner to advanced, everyone can benefit from using News in Slow Italian.
You can try out all the materials with a free 7-day trial and a subscription costs $19.90/mo.
The podcast gives you an opportunity to learn a little bit of Italian every day. It could be suitable for very busy students, however, studying for a few minutes per day will obviously not lead to fluency.
You can find the recordings on iTunes for free. However, the whole course with lesson notes needs to be purchased.
This is a digital magazine that includes audio and extra features like grammar notes and more. It’s specifically made for Italian language learners around the intermediate to advanced levels. It’s not only a good way to improve your Italian but also learn about Italian culture, food, art, and more. A subscription costs 37.95 EUR per year. You can also buy old issues individually for 3.95 EUR.
Conversations isn’t a podcast but those with an intermediate level of Italian may find it to be just what they’re looking for. It’s created by Olly Richards of the I Will Teach You a Language blog.
Matching his philosophy of using stories to learn languages, Conversations is a dialogue-based story split up into 20 chapters. It uses conversational language, spoken at a natural pace, written using vocabulary suitable to intermediate learners. There are also transcripts with English translations to make the content easier to follow. It’s available for $97.
A subscription to LearnItalianPod costs $14.95 per month, but I found it to be quite bad value for the cost. It felt like they hadn’t put much thought into how to structure and organize the lessons. There are almost no explanations of grammar and very little that you do to practice as you go. Read the full review of LearnItalianPod.
Let’s Speak Italian offers 100 lessons of episodes for $15. You can try out a few sample lessons on their website. These lessons are quite basic and would only be of interest for beginners. The lessons seem to be quite boring where he basically just goes over some vocabulary or phrases. I’d imagine most of the material you could find elsewhere for free.
ItalianPod101 is a podcast-based language learning platform. While there is an abundance of learning materials, I found that the structure of the courses not to be sufficient as a standalone course. That said, it could be a really useful complementary tool to a more structured learning plan.
With the basic plan starting at only $8/month, it’s an option worth considering. Read our full review of ItalianPod101 here.
Use the coupon code “ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES” to get 25% off a subscription to ItalianPod101.
More Advanced Learners
The podcasts enumerated above are good resources mostly for beginners and intermediate students. However, if your Italian is already pretty advanced, a good idea is listening to actual Italian podcasts instead of podcasts aimed at Italian learners. Depending on your interests you may find different things enjoyable but here’s a short list of engaging (and free) podcasts in Italian:
Light, entertaining and short episodes of Caterpillar make it a good podcast to listen to on-the-go. The episodes offer intelligent commentary about international and Italian affairs. Apart from working on your Italian skills, it will keep you up-to-date.
Are you a fan of crime stories? This limited podcast revolves around a 20-year old terrifying true crime story. In these 7 episodes, you’ll not only brush up on your Italian vocabulary related to crime and justice but also witness high-quality Italian journalism.
The topic of Senza Rosetto is feminism. Short and sweet episodes deal with many modern problems of women. The podcast was created to celebrate the anniversary of the first referendum with the participation of women. It currently has two seasons with the premiere of the third one forecast for June 2018.
This Italian podcast focuses on science. The episodes are very interesting and engaging. To listen to it, you’ll need a bit more time than in the case of other enumerated podcasts. The average length of an episode is around 50 minutes. The Scientificast’s library is quite impressive and there are currently almost 200 episodes to choose from.
This isn’t an Italian podcast but something a bit better – a directory of Italian podcasts. There are quite a few different options that you can browse through and likely find something that you’ll enjoy.
Rai Radio is an Italian radio channel operated by the state-owned public broadcasting organization RAI. They have a ton of different shows covering topics from sports, music, news, and more. For any advanced learner looking to immerse themselves in the Italian language and culture, this is a must use resource.
I hope you’ll find this list of podcasts for learning Italian useful. Podcasts are a good way of working on your comprehension skills as well as your vocabulary. They can be a great tool for supplementing your primary language resource. Please let me know in the comments if I missed any podcast that you’d recommend.