Italy Made Easy
Italy Made Easy offers incredibly comprehensive Italian courses. Currently, there are four courses available for those at the beginner to intermediate levels. The courses include lots of video lessons, with assignments, quizzes, exercises, and other features to make sure you’re able to actually use the Italian you’ve learned. They’re easily the most thorough Italian courses available.
It’s a very easy to use and well-structured platform. You’ll get great tips and practice opportunities for all the main language skills.
Everything is explained thoroughly, occasionally to a fault. The theory is complemented by plenty of exercises that ensure you’re learning the material.
While the courses certainly aren’t cheap, they contain everything you’d need.
- The interactive, diverse and effective exercises to help you practice all the important language skills.
- The videos give you the feeling of having your own tutor.
- The teacher and the course creator, Manu, is experienced and personable. He knows the mistakes Italian learners are likely to make.
- There’s an option to receive feedback on your assignments from a real, native Italian speaker.
I Don’t Like
- Manu is very talkative. The videos could often be shorter and still include all of the essential information
- Some of the videos could be edited a little more.
- The high cost will make it too expensive for some learners.
For 6 months it is $200 but for better value a year is $350.
One thing I’ve found from trying out tons of online language courses is that my favorite courses aren’t typically made by a huge corporation. Instead, they’re often made by a single person who has lots of experience teaching the language.
I think this is because big companies often try to replicate the same course for every single language they teach. As a result, they can be less engaging and lack personality, plus they often have lower-quality instruction and limited cultural insights.
Courses made by experienced teachers, such as Manu of Italy Made Easy, usually end up being far more in depth and culturally relevant than their more well-known counterparts.
Manu has been teaching Italian for over 20 years and this shows. He knows the mistakes that learners are likely to make and can help you avoid them. The courses are incredibly in depth, plus there are lots of opportunities for you to practice what you’ve learned. What’s more, he’s extremely charismatic, and his lessons make you feel more as if you have your own personal teacher.
This review will focus on his From Zero to Italian series, which currently consists of five courses: Beginner 1, Beginner 2, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, and Intermediate 3. Let’s take a closer look.
On Italy Made Easy’s platform, you’ll pay a one-off fee for lifetime access to each course. This sets it apart from many other services, since it does not have a subscription option.
There are a few free courses available on the website, as well as some courses that aren’t part of the From Zero to Italian series. Additionally, if you want to get a feel for Manu’s teaching style before paying, he has a popular YouTube channel with tons of excellent videos.
The courses aren’t cheap, but you’ll get extremely detailed and in-depth content. Each one includes over 10 units that are super in-depth, with 10–20 different lessons per unit. In total, many of the courses have 150+ lessons. And in addition to the video lessons, you’ll find quizzes, homework, dictation exercises, speaking assignments, vocabulary flashcards, and even more.
While some of the video lessons are short, others are over 30 minutes long. There’s an incredible amount of content packed into each course. It’s also really well-structured, guiding students to exactly where they need to go next.
Before you can start learning with Italy Made Easy, you need to choose your course and if you want to upgrade to the VIP version. The standard course is cheaper and still includes all the course materials. The VIP option, meanwhile, lets you submit assignments, including voice recordings, and get feedback on them from a native Italian speaker. You’ll also get a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course.
If you’re not sure which level to sign up for, there’s a self-diagnosis tool to help out.
At the beginning of the courses, you’ll find some information about how to use the material. You’ll also find a bit of review material before moving into the rest of the course.
The main part of the lessons is recorded videos. The language concepts are thoroughly explained in the videos. At beginner levels, Manu explains everything thoroughly in English. As you progress to the higher levels, more and more Italian is used in the lessons. It’s unlikely you’ll need to do any additional reading. If you prefer, you can also download the lessons in MP3 format or as a PDF. The latter is actually a summary of the lesson rather than a transcript.
When you finish with a lesson, remember to mark it as done so that you can track your progress on the right side of the screen. With such a large number of units and subunits, remembering what you’ve completed and what you haven’t could become very confusing.
These courses are absorbing and engaging. There’s an impressive number of units and comprehensive lessons within them, and they faithfully cover Italian grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and more. There’s nothing I’d add to the explanations of language concepts.
The language concepts are specifically discussed in a way to suit an English speaker. If I wanted to add any improvements, it would be to get rid of some of the content which is related to the topic but not entirely necessary for students to understand it. However, I’m sure that there are plenty of learners that prefer having these extra explanations.
Apart from the theoretical aspects of the course, I was also pleasantly surprised by all the language practice included. You can tell that Manu has a lot of experience in foreign language teaching.
He predicts the problems that students are going to have and includes additional explanations and tips those points.
Sometimes, the course groups a few thematically linked lessons together and only introduces the practice section at the end. With more demanding topics, however, the exercises come straight after the lesson or are provided within them.
The exercises are designed to get learners practicing different skills, and Manu has tried his best to prepare students to use Italian in the real-world. He uses quite a bit of Italian in the exercises, which is very beneficial for a new student.
These courses are incredibly thorough. You’ll learn how to pronounce particular Italian words, read in Italian, understand spoken language and spelling. You’ll also get the gist of all the necessary language concepts, such as verb conjugation, articles, tenses, and much, much other.
In addition to the lessons and exercises, you have assignments. If you’ve opted for the VIP course, you can submit these to be checked by a native Italian speaker.
When I submitted my answers, I received feedback the very same day.
The quick turnaround is an obvious plus, as you shouldn’t be moving on to the next chapter without making sure that you’ve understood what‘s been covered so far.
An excellent addition to the courses is the integration with Quizlet’s flashcard system. Growing your vocabulary is essential to improving your Italian, and the flashcard system will make your time studying vocabulary more effective.
They’re much better than typical flashcards, which you just flip around to see whether or not you know the word you’re being asked about. They offer numerous study modes, such as games, spelling, tests, and more, which makes them more fun and engaging.
You can also access the flashcards from Quizlet app, making it easy to study in those random gaps of time that you might otherwise waste doing mindless things.
The drilling will help your memory easily access stored words and find the right expression during a conversation. Typical flashcards are a good source of practice, too, but they can get boring during prolonged use. These vocabulary learning tools make learning much more entertaining.
You can purchase credits for “Chats” with native Italian speakers, but I don’t see any benefit to using this instead of finding a tutor on italki or any other platform for online classes.
From Zero to Italian also includes dictation exercises, numerous challenges, translation and pronunciation exercises. In addition to these tools, there are also unit quizzes. They check what you remember from the entire unit so you know whether you should revisit some of the material.
The courses are really good, but that doesn’t make them perfect. Manu is very talkative. For the most part, this is a positive and aids in the understanding of the lessons and can keep things feeling more relaxed. However, sometimes it makes it difficult to filter the most important information out of the lesson.
The PDF files can help with this as those distill the key points of the lessons. That makes them pretty helpful as a quick wrap-up or summary of the most important information.
The videos occasionally feel a little unedited. I don’t really mind this as I’d prefer the personal approach Manu provides over a perfectly edited video, but it’s something to be aware of.
You may also experience some information overload with all the vocabulary added throughout the lessons. This is in contrast with some other resources where the instruction can feel slow and limited.
These are all minor criticisms. Italy Made Easy’s courses are thorough and entertaining. I’d strongly recommend them to anyone who’s serious about self-studying Italian.
Perhaps the biggest weakness, however, is that the courses aren’t cheap. They offer a huge amount of value, but a lot of people will be instantly put off when they see the price.
As I have mentioned before, Italy Made Easy isn’t a subscription service. To get access to any of the courses offered on the platform, you have to pay a one-time fee.
Each course has two versions: the standard course and VIP option. The courses are identical, except the VIP version lets you submit your assignments and get feedback from a native Italian speaker, as well as a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course.
Each level of From Zero to Italian costs either $300 or $400, depending on the option you choose.
Again, these courses aren’t cheap, but they’re well designed, and Manu is an excellent teacher. With a lot of courses, you may need to supplement them with additional resources. They might teach you how to speak Italian but not how to write it, for example, or they’ll teach you vocabulary but not grammar. The courses on Italy Made Easy, in contrast, teach you grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, spelling, and more. They’ll get you speaking and writing as well as playing vocabulary games. They’re extremely comprehensive.
There are also some other courses available:
- Speak Italian from Day 1 at $97
- Speak Italian Like an Italiano at $29
- Top 400 Most Frequent Italian Words at $29
The team at Italy Made Easy is also working on a Learn Italian With Audio course for learners with a minimum of six months of Italian studies behind them.
Italy Made Easy Alternatives
Although Italy Made Easy’s course offer a huge amount of value, the high prices mean that they’re not for everyone. If you’re looking for something more economical, you might like some of these alternatives:
With italki, you can book online Italian lessons with a huge range of Italian tutors, all of whom set their own prices and availability. There’s a teacher for everyone on the platform, no matter your price point or preferred learning method. Alternatively, you can check out our recommended italki alternatives.
Pimsleur has audio courses for over 50 languages. Their courses can feel a bit slow, they don’t explain much of the grammar, and they’re mainly focused on spoken Italian. However, they’re well-structured and a decent, affordable alternative to Italy Made Easy.
This gamified course is a fun way to learn Italian in just a few minutes every day. We love the community feedback option that means you can receive critiques on your pronunciation and writing.
ItalianPod101 as a huge number of audio and video Italian lessons. It can feel unstructured, so it’s probably not best for absolute beginners. However, you’ll learn plenty of vocabulary, grammar, and phrases using ItalianPod101. Use the promo code ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES to save 25% off a subscription.
I’ve tried a ton of resources for learning Italian, and I was extremely impressed with Italy Made Easy. The courses are exceptionally thorough and the teacher is experienced, knowledgeable, and engaging. The abundance of exercises, activities, and quizzes will make sure that you’re progressing with the course and not passively consuming the material.
Zero to Italian may be pricey, but it offers a lot of value.