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Free Guide to Learn Italian

The cost of learning Italian can vary depending on the method you choose and your individual circumstances. If you opt for an Italian language course or private tutor, you can expect to pay a fee. The cost of courses can vary depending on the institution, the type of course, and the duration of the course. Similarly, private tutor fees can vary depending on the tutor’s experience and location. Because Italian is a unique language to learn, some places charge very high fees for lessons. However, learning Italian does not have to be expensive. There are many free or low-cost resources available, such as online courses or language exchange programs, that can help you to learn Italian without breaking the bank. This article will look at some free ways in which you can learn this beautiful language.


Duolingo is a popular language learning app that is good for learning Italian for several reasons:

  • Free and accessible: Duolingo’s Italian course is completely free and accessible to anyone with a smartphone or computer. This makes it a great option for people who want to learn Italian but cannot afford expensive courses or textbooks.
  • Interactive and gamified approach: Duolingo’s lessons are designed to be interactive and gamified, which makes learning Italian more engaging and fun. The app uses a variety of exercises and challenges to help you learn and reinforce new vocabulary and grammar.
  • Structured learning path: Duolingo’s Italian course is structured like a curriculum, which means you learn Italian in a logical order. This helps you build a strong foundation in the language and progress from easier to more difficult concepts.
  • Adaptive learning: Duolingo’s algorithm adapts to your learning style and progress. It adjusts the difficulty of the exercises based on your performance and provides immediate feedback, which helps you identify and correct your mistakes.
  • Mobile app: Duolingo’s Italian course is available as a mobile app, which means you can learn Italian on the go. This makes it easy to fit Italian practice into your daily routine, whether you’re commuting, waiting in line, or taking a break at work.

Overall, Duolingo is a good option for learning Italian because it’s accessible, engaging, and effective. It’s not a substitute for more comprehensive language courses or immersion programs, but it can be a great supplement to help you build a strong foundation in Italian.


 Memrise is another free language learning app that offers Italian courses. It uses a combination of flashcards and memory games to help you memorize new vocabulary.

  • Like Duolingo, Memrise takes an interactive and gamified approach to language learning. It offers a variety of exercises, quizzes, and games that make learning Italian more engaging and fun. It places a strong emphasis on vocabulary building but be aware this is often at the expense of vocabulary. Its Italian courses cover thousands of Italian words and phrases, and it uses spaced repetition to help you memorize them more effectively.
  • Memrise offers multimedia content, such as videos and audio recordings, to help you practice your Italian listening and speaking skills, making it a good all-round approach for language learning. It also has a community of native Italian speakers who can help you with pronunciation and grammar.
  • User-generated content: Memrise allows users to create and share their own Italian language courses. This means you can find courses that are tailored to your specific interests or needs, such as Italian for travel or Italian for business. But as with any user-generated content, it can be difficult to tell how accurate a course is, so exercise caution when choosing.
  • Free and accessible: Memrise’s Italian courses are free to use and accessible to anyone with a smartphone or computer. You can also use Memrise offline, which means you can practice your Italian skills even when you don’t have an internet connection.

Memrise is a good option for learning Italian because it’s interactive, engaging, and effective for building vocabulary. While it may not offer as much structure as some other language learning programs, it can be a great supplement to help you improve your Italian language skills.


ItalianPod101 is a language learning website that offers audio and video lessons in Italian, covering topics like grammar, vocabulary, and cultural insights. This makes it a much more comprehensive offering than Duolingo or Memrise.  They also offer lessons for different proficiency levels, from beginner to advanced, meaning you can take advantage of the free content regardless of your level.

  • Focus on listening and speaking: ItalianPod101’s lessons are focused on listening and speaking skills, which are essential for communicating effectively in Italian. Their lessons include dialogues and conversations, which help you practice real-life Italian language scenarios.
  • Interactive lessons: ItalianPod101’s lessons are interactive, which means you can practice your Italian skills by repeating phrases, answering questions, and completing exercises.
  • Native Italian speakers: ItalianPod101’s lessons are taught by native Italian speakers, which means you can learn authentic Italian pronunciation and intonation.
  • Personalized learning: ItalianPod101 allows you to create a personalized learning plan based on your interests and goals. You can choose which lessons to focus on, and track your progress through their online dashboard.

Be aware that while ItalianPod101 offers a free basic membership that gives you access to a limited number of Italian lessons, you will need to purchase a premium membership that provides access to all of their Italian lessons, as well as additional features like flashcards and quizzes.

BBC Languages

An archived site, the BBC Languages website offers free Italian language courses that cover beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Unfortunately, it is no longer being updated, but it still has a range of activities for you to use for free:

  • A structured learning path: The website provides a structured learning path for beginners, which makes it easy to get started learning Italian. The lessons cover basic Italian grammar, vocabulary, and phrases, and are presented in a clear and easy-to-understand way.
  • Interactive exercises: The website includes interactive exercises to help you practice your Italian language skills. These exercises cover a range of topics, including grammar, vocabulary, and listening comprehension.
  • Audio and video resources: The website offers a range of audio and video resources, including podcasts, radio programs, and videos, which provide opportunities to practice your listening and speaking skills.
  • Free and accessible: The BBC Italian Language website is free to use and accessible to anyone with an internet connection. It’s a great option for people who want to learn Italian but cannot afford expensive courses or textbooks.

Italiano Automatico

Italiano Automatico is a popular podcast for learning Italian. The podcast is hosted by Alberto Arrighini, a native Italian speaker who is also a language teacher and author. Here are some key features of the Italiano Automatico podcast:

  • Language Learning: The podcast is specifically designed to help learners improve their Italian language skills. It covers a wide range of topics, including grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
  • Authentic Italian: The podcast features natural, conversational Italian that is spoken at a moderate pace. This makes it easier for learners to follow along and understand the content.
  • Varied content: The podcast covers a wide range of topics, including Italian culture, history, and current events. It also features interviews with Italian speakers, which provide learners with exposure to different accents and speaking styles.
  • Transcripts and exercises: The podcast includes transcripts of each episode, as well as exercises that help learners practice what they have learned. This makes it easier for learners to review the material and reinforce their understanding of Italian.
  • Free and accessible: The Italiano Automatico podcast is free to listen to and is accessible on most podcast platforms. Alberto also offers a range of other language learning resources, including courses and eBooks, which learners can purchase if they want additional support.


Tandem is a language exchange app that connects you with native Italian speakers who want to learn your native language. You can practice speaking Italian with them via text, voice, or video calls, meaning they can help you with grammar and pronunciation. But, in exchange, you will need to spend time helping your partner with your native language, so you won’t be speaking Italian 100% of the time.

Italian newspapers and websites

While newspapers might seem a little outdated, reading Italian newspapers online can help you improve your reading comprehension and vocabulary because they provide a wealth of authentic language content.

However, it is vital to use them intentionally and deliberately. Just passively reading isn’t very helpful for learning a language. Here are some tips for using online newspapers to learn Italian:

  • Start with simple articles: Choose articles that are written for beginners or that cover topics that you are familiar with. This will help you to build your confidence and develop your understanding of the language.
  • Read actively: When you read an article, try to actively engage with the content. Underline new vocabulary words and try to understand the meaning of unfamiliar words from context. Pay attention to the sentence structure and grammar patterns used in the article.
  • Listen to audio recordings: Many online newspapers have audio recordings of their articles, which can help you to improve your listening and pronunciation skills. Listen to the audio recordings while following along with the text to reinforce your understanding of the article.
  • Discuss the articles: Try to find language exchange partners or join language learning groups that discuss current events or articles from Italian newspapers. This will help you to practice your speaking and writing skills and gain a deeper understanding of Italian culture and society.
  • Use translation tools wisely: While it can be tempting to use online translation tools to help you understand articles, try to rely on them as little as possible. Instead, focus on actively engaging with the content and using context to understand unfamiliar words or phrases.

Some popular Italian news websites include La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera, and Il Sole 24 Ore.

Italian movies and TV shows

When I was a beginner language learner, it was almost impossible to get access to foreign language movies and tv shows without importing them from other countries. But between paid services like Netflix and free services like YouTube, there’s a whole world of movies and TV shows that can be watched with subtitles can help you improve your listening comprehension and pronunciation.

The popularity of Italian TV shows can vary depending on personal preferences and cultural trends. However, here are some popular Italian TV shows that are currently getting attention:

  • Gomorrah: This crime drama series is based on a book by Roberto Saviano and follows the inner workings of a Neapolitan crime organization. It has gained critical acclaim both in Italy and internationally.
  • Inspector Montalbano: This long-running detective series is based on the books of Andrea Camilleri and follows the investigations of Inspector Montalbano in the fictional town of Vigata.
  • The Young Montalbano: This detective series is a prequel to the aforementioned Inspector Montalbano series and follows the early career of the character Salvo Montalbano.
  • Summertime: This romantic drama series is set in the picturesque coastal town of Cesenatico and follows the lives of a group of young adults during the summer months.
  • Boris: This satirical comedy series is set behind the scenes of a fictional Italian television production and pokes fun at the workings of the entertainment industry.
  • Medici: The Magnificent: This historical drama series is set in 15th-century Florence and follows the lives of the powerful Medici family.
  • Suburra: Blood on Rome: This crime drama series is set in Rome and follows the interwoven lives of politicians, organized crime, and the Vatican.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, learning Italian does not have to be an expensive endeavour. With the abundance of free resources available online, you can start learning the language without spending a dime. From apps like Duolingo and Memrise to language exchange programs like Tandem, there are many ways to immerse yourself in Italian language and culture without breaking the bank. Online newspapers, podcasts, and TV shows also provide an excellent way to practice your listening and comprehension skills. By taking advantage of these resources and incorporating them into your daily routine, you can make steady progress in your Italian language learning journey. With commitment and dedication, you can achieve your goal of speaking and understanding Italian fluently, all while staying within your budget.

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