Best apps to learn Italian

7 Top-Rated Apps to Learn Italian Like a Pro

 

Best apps to learn Italian

If you’re looking to pick up some basic Italian or advance to the next level of fluency, there are many useful apps that can help you achieve this goal! The flexibility and convenience of downloading an app on the go makes learning fun and affordable.  

It’s important to keep in mind though that apps shouldn’t be your sole method of learning a language. No technology can beat the personalized instruction and guidance of an experienced language teacher. (Apps aren’t a substitute for real-life conversation practice either)!

With that in mind, here are the 7 best Italian apps to supplement your learning.

The 7 Best Apps to Help You Learn Italian

1. Mondly

Best apps to learn Italian

With a 5-star rating, Mondly allows you to study Italian vocabulary and phrases through interactive games and graphics. The app is free for In-App purchases and also available for the Apple Watch!

Mondly allows you to collect points and compete with other users from across the globe. Students who face challenges learning Italian verbs can also benefit from the app’s 3D conjugation tables.

2. Busuu

Apps to learn Italian

Of all the apps to learn Italian, Busuu was the first one to allow users to have verbal conversations with native speakers from all over the world. The app offers students direct communication with new pen pals right from their phone or iPad.

Busuu also teamed up with McGraw-Hill to enable students to obtain an official learning certificate. The app has a  4+ star rating and allows for family sharing!

3. Learn Italian, Speak Italian

Italian apps

This helpful app was rated by Google as the “Must have app for Android.” Lessons are created by a team of language experts and teachers, with over 150 topics and over 3,000 vocabulary words.

If you’re a beginner, tourist, or business traveler, use this app to test your knowledge with fun quizzes. The Android app also allows you to record yourself so you can keep track of your progress!

SEE ALSO: 10 Podcasts for Learning Italian

4. Italian by Nemo

Italian apps

This app allows for hands free interaction, so you can practice your Italian skills while you walk, exercise, cook, or commute! Italian by Nemo is the perfect companion for busy students who only have a minute or two to spare throughout their day.

You can download the app for free in either the Apple store or Google Play. It has a 4.3 star rating from users.

5. Learn Italian by Bravolol

Italian apps

Learn Italian features a friendly, animated cartoon parrot guiding you on your way to mastering Italian. With engaging and interactive flashcards, this app will help you pick up commonly used Italian phrases and words.

An awesome perk of the app is that it can be used without an internet connection! If you are traveling to Italy, make sure to bring this fun app with you on the plane to brush up on your skills. It’s available in the Apple store and Google Play.

6. Easy Talk

Apps to Learn Italian

The Easy Talk app comes with an Italian travel phrasebook, sample dialogues based on real life situations, and multiple search functions to select and keep track of your favorites.

Another perk – there aren’t any drills or boring grammar exercises! The app can also be used as a personal, pocket translator. It’s available for Android phones for a purchase of $3.99.

7. TakeLessons

Apps to Learn Italian - TakeLessons

For easily accessible Italian lessons on the go, the TakeLessons app is the perfect resource no matter your skill level. Find experienced Italian teachers in your area, or connect with one digitally via the app’s video chat feature.

With the TakeLessons app, you can learn Italian from a professional no matter where you are. You can also join in on free, group classes for your first month as a new student. The app is available for both Android and iPhones.

It’s often said that when learning a new language like Italian, practice makes perfect. Any one of these apps to learn Italian would make an excellent tool to help you practice your skills!

Impress your language teacher and your friends with how quickly you’ve learned. Ready to get started with private lessons? Schedule a one-on-one lesson with an Italian teacher today to start speaking, writing, and reading Italian!

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LizT
Post Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches Italian, ESL, as well as a variety of musical subjects! She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal Performance and she currently performs all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

Top 10 Podcasts for Learning Italian

Top 10 Podcasts for Learning ItalianAre your ears free? If so, you can start learning Italian right now! In this article, Italian teacher Liz T. shows you the top 10 podcasts for learning Italian and why they’re worth your time…

 

No one said learning Italian has to be boring. One of the most entertaining and effortless ways to learn a language is by listening to podcasts. Podcasts give language-learners lots of invaluable benefits, such as hearing correct pronunciation and learning while on-the-go.

Does this sound like the right learning style for you? If not, take our quiz, What is Your Learning Style, to find out the best method of learning for you! If learning by audio sounds like a good fit, let’s look at the top 10 podcasts for learning Italian!


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1) Radio Lingua – Coffee Break Italian

This podcast has a new episode every week. If you sign up for their email subscription program, you can receive free videos whenever they become available. The website is intuitive and professional, making your learning experience all the easier. Here’s how the podcast’s owners describe their service:

Coffee Break Italian is indeed everything you need to learn Italian, whether you’re an absolute beginner or you’re returning to Italian to refresh your knowledge. You’ll be accompanied by experienced teachers and native speakers throughout your Coffee Break Italian experience, so you’ll make solid progress and build your range of expression and mastery of Italian grammar quickly.


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2) Let’s Speak Italian

Here’s a deal worth going for: 100 lessons for $15. The lessons in this podcast are meant to be viewed over a 24 week program. There’s also free vocabulary you can add to your resources. If you like structure in your lessons and tons of content, this could be the one for you! This is what they’re all about:

Hi everybody, my name’s Mike and this is the Let’s Speak Italian podcast. So you’ve listened to a few sample lessons, and hopefully you’re learning how to speak Italian… I’ve found that the key to learning to speak Italian is to learn a little bit every day, and to practice it with your friends. So get lessons 1-100, and listen to one lesson, every day for 24 weeks. By the end, you’ll be amazed at how easy it was, and just how much you can learn by practicing a few minutes every day.


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3) ItalianLingQ

10 minute lessons with full transcriptions for each – doesn’t that sound nice and digestible? ItalianLingQ teaches lessons for intermediate to advanced Italian speakers. You’ll learn the language while also learning about sports, history, science, politics, holidays, and more. Check out what they’re all about:

Our podcasts may contain interviews, articles, or audiobook excerpts but are most often just general conversations in Italian. We will usually talk about topics of general interest. Please do send us feedback and topic requests. We’re always happy to hear from you. After you listen to the podcast, sign up for a free account at LingQ (l-i-n-g-q.com) and study the full transcript using LingQ’s revolutionary learning tools.


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4) Pastacast

Although discontinued in 2008, this podcast features lengthy lessons on all sorts of Italian basics. The lessons range from verbs, pronunciations, superlatives, and prepositions, all the way to sports terms, cooking terms, numbers, and spelling. Even though new content won’t be released anytime soon, we encourage you to use Pastacast as a basic learning resource.

Pastacast.net was created by two American born Italian teachers. They saw that many students of Italian needed some more in depth help learning Italian in their mother tongue, English.


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5) LearnItalianPod

This podcast is hosted by two Italian enthusiasts, Massimo and Jane. Their lessons deal with all of the technicalities of Italian, such as reflexive verbs and the future tense, but also the practicalities of Italian, like how to rent a car or speak on the phone. They incorporate their teachings with fun stories and situations. You may even forget you’re learning Italian and think you’re listening to an entertaining Italian conversation!

Throughout this 50-lesson “Beginner Level” series you will learn how to greet people, introduce and talk about yourself, ask questions, dealing with restaurants and hotels, how to ask the time, formal and informal modes, present tense verbs, articles, pronouns, adverbs, and adjectives. You will hear Italian spoken in a variety of “real-life” situations.


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6) MeetItalia

This podcast has three learning different categories in its monthly subscription: Travel Phrases, Experience, and History. MeetItalia’s goal is to teach you Italian in a way that’s practical for your communication skills. Far too often do beginners fall prey to learning vocabulary and phrases without incorporating them in conversations. Check out this description of their Travel Phrases category:

In this series you will learn basic Italian phrases useful for your travels in Italy. We will not analyze grammar, but focus on what is essential for communicating in Italy. Each lesson will open with one or more short Italian dialogs. You will then learn when and how to use them. After the lesson use the Practice track to actively practice what you have just learnt, review everything in a handy PDF and then take a Quiz!


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7) Maxmondo – Incontro Italian

Incontro Italiano is an audio magazine that helps you learn Italian and get to know Italy. It’s mainly for intermediate to advanced speakers. Every issue consists of an audio program (30+ min.) accompanied by a magazine. The magazine is available from the website for subscribers (in pdf format) and contains not just transcriptions of the audio, but also vocabulary, additional explanations, grammar notes, and exercises about the articles.

Incontro Italiano is published every two weeks and all content is in Italian only (i.e. full immersion) and produced by a team in Italy. Here’s what they say about themselves:

With every issue we offer you information about Italian culture in an audioshow that is accompanied by a magazine. You will learn about different places, art, food, customs and the people of Italy. All content is in Italian and especially prepared for learners of Italian by the Incontro Italiano team based in Italy. Incontro Italiano is for intermediate to advanced Italian language students all over the world. On this page we try to answer some common questions:


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8) Radio Arlecchino

The last update for this podcast was in 2009, but don’t let that discourage you from tuning in! Radio Arlecchino features unique characters and gripping stories to deliver Italian lessons. The lessons are deep and rich with content, but they’re presented in a playful way. Here’s what they have to say about themselves:

Thanks for tuning in to Radio Arlecchino, Italian grammar made easy! Arlecchino, Pulcinella and other masks of the Italian Commedia dell’arte will help you learn the subtleties of Italian grammar, one zany episode at a time.
Podcasts are built around dialogs that explain the Italian grammar behind communicative language functions – functions like describing and comparing, recommending and expressing opinions, recounting the past, expressing likes and dislikes, hypothesizing, and talking about the future.


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9) News in Slow Italian

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced lessons are all given in the form of weekly Italian news. You can choose from hundreds of Italian lessons and each one comes with a full transcription of the audio. If you’re not a quick learner and require more time for absorbing information, this podcast may be perfect for you! This is what they say:

In our course we emphasize all aspects of language learning from listening comprehension, rapid vocabulary expansion, exposure to Italian grammar and common idiomatic expressions, to pronunciation practice and interactive grammar exercises. In our program we discuss the Weekly News, Italian grammar, and Italian expressions, and much more at a slow pace so that you can understand almost every word and sentence.


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10) Eye on Italy

This podcast features not just Italian lessons, but also a look at Italy as a whole. Special guests join the podcast every week and share their Italian expertise and experience. You’ll learn about everything Italian, including subjects like wines, Roman archaeology, and the Italian mafia. Here’s what they’re all about:

Eye on Italy is an Italy podcast for Italophiles and often focuses on news, culture and travel in English. Each episode includes expert interviews and guests, and sometimes Picks of the Week for new Italy applications, websites, and tips in every episode, plus a different Italian word featured in our Angolo d’Italiano (Italian corner).


Conclusion

I recommend taking the time to listen to each and every one of these podcasts; you can learn something different from each one! Take notes as you listen and you’ll be well on your way for learning Italian. If you plan on studying abroad in Italy, these podcasts will give you a wonderful head start.

While podcasts are great for studying Italian, I also encourage you to take private Italian lessons online with a teacher on TakeLessons.

 

Do any of these podcasts look good to you? Are there any we missed? Comment below with your thoughts!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches Italian, singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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Top 10 YouTube Channels for Learning Italian

Top 10 YouTube Channels for Learning ItalianYou can learn to speak Italian without even picking up a pen. Watching videos is a great way to learn a language; you can hear a variety of voices, listen to correct pronunciation, and decide when and where you want to learn. In this article, Italian teacher Liz T. takes you through 10 of her favorite YouTube channels for learning Italian…

 

With the advent of the internet, learning a language today is easier than ever before. Advances in computer technology, social media platforms, and smartphone apps have given you everything you need to educate yourself – and it’s all available at your fingertips!

YouTube is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways you can learn a new language. Instead of searching through hundreds of channels on YouTube, we thought a quick guide for the top 10 YouTube channels to learn Italian would help you out! Let’s take a look at the channels, which are in no particular order.


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1) The Travel Linguist

This channel teaches basic vocabulary and phrases for multiple languages, and Italian is no exception! In Italian 101, you can see as many as twenty different videos with “How To” survival vocabulary, common words and phrases, greetings, directions, dining, shopping, and safety lessons. Each of the lessons are tiered into different learning levels; for example, you’re able to advance from “Greetings Level One” to “Greetings Level Two,” and so on.

 

Check out this example video on Dining Level One:


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2) Learn Italian, Live from Italy

On this channel, Italian native Marco Nisida helps viewers prepare for their next journey to Italy! Marco shares some of his unique tips and tricks for learning Italian, which derive from his own rich cultural experiences. His channel includes videos with three different learning levels, as well as technical videos that help you conjugate verbs.

 

Check out this example video of Lesson 1:


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3) Italian Pod 101

This channel will help you become more confident when speaking Italian in public. It’s also great at showcasing the appropriate uses of being polite and informal in social settings. There are over 100 videos, and if you view just one of these, you’ll learn a whole new topic or subject, including “Summer Vacation Words,” Holidays,” and “Vacation Plans.”

 

Check out this example video on 25 Must-Know Italian Adjectives:


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4) Italy Made Easy

Italian teacher Manu uses his unique humor in some funny Italian videos made for beginners! His videos include “How to Survive in Italy Without Being Fluent,” “How to Roll R’s Like an Italian,” and “Speak Italian Like an Italiano.” He also offers webinars and more advanced levels of Italian for a cost beyond his YouTube channel.

 

Check out this example video on Vowel Pronunciation:


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5) Learn Italian with Lucrezia

This channel features Italian native Lucrezia coming up with very creative conversations, stories, and scenarios to help you get the most out of your Italian learning experience. She has many videos ranging for beginners, such as “A Day in the Life” videos, videos on verbs, and videos on food and recipes. Learning Italian through cooking is a great way to simultaneously indulge in the language and the culture.

 

Check out this example video on Italian Vocabulary – Family: 


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6) One World Italiano

On this channel, you’ll learn Italian with Veronica and the rest of her team in Cagliari, the heart of the island Sardinia. They built an actual school for tourists and newcomers to Italy, which is where they share these teachings on their YouTube channel. She uses visuals, costumes, and on-location settings to make her Italian-learning videos more interesting and fun to watch!

 

Check out this example video on Lesson 1:


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7) Verbademy

Having trouble with those Italian verbs? Verbademy breaks down how to use Italian verbs effectively whether you’re using regular, irregular, possessives, or adjectives. This channel has lessons on describing peoples’ appearances, how to talk about the weather, and Italian travel phrases for beginners.

 

Check out this example video on Lesson 1 – Greetings:


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8) Dino Lingo

This one is for the kids! Dino Lingo has videos to help kids understand and learn Italian through animations and childrens’ voices. This channel is all about wanting your kid to learn Italian in a fun, relatable, and nurturing way. Once they watch one lesson, they may not be able to stop!

 

Check out this example video on one of Dino Lingo’s learning games:


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9) Dolce Vita

This channel is a go-to guide on how to interact with Italians and their culture. The channel’s funny hosts, Luca and Marina, show you how to deal with Italian traditions in a light and humorous way, which is a very good approach to take! You’ll start feeling more like an Italian the minute you watch their videos.

 

Check out this example video on Useful Common Expressions:


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10) Italian with Melissa La Studentessa Matta

On this channel, Italian student Melissa Muldoon has a lot of fun describing current Italian trends and expressions used in Italy. Her videos, such as “How to Buy a Train Ticket From an Automated Machine in Italy,” “Going Show Shopping,” and “Finding a Homestay in Florence,” will help you experience and feel more comfortable with the Italian culture on your next visit to Italy.

 

Check out this example video on 11 Questions About Learning Italian:


Conclusion

I highly recommend each and every one of these YouTube channels for learning and improving your Italian skills. While I encourage you to check out all of these Italian language channels and more on YouTube, I also encourage you to continue with your private lessons, or start with a private instructor on TakeLessons! While YouTube can be very helpful for getting you started, it’s hard to advance your Italian skills without that one on one attention from a live tutor.

I hope this article is a great starting point for your Italian learning endeavors! Happy learning!

Did any of these YouTube channels help you learn Italian? Know any others? Comment below with your thoughts!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches Italian, singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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Cooking With Culture: 11 Wonderful Italian Food Blogs

Top Italian Food BlogsItalians and cooking go together like – well, who needs a comparison? In this article, Italian teacher Liz T. will show you 11 food blogs with delicious Italian recipes, each providing a plentiful helping of Italian culture…

 

Culture in the Kitchen

If you’re learning Italian, of course it helps to know the basics; vocabulary, grammar rules, and all of the technicalities involved with the language. But did you know that learning about the Italian culture will help you better understand the language?

Many students learning Italian go beyond their tutoring sessions and dig into the rich and beautiful culture that Italy has to offer. And what’s one of the best ways they indulge in this practice? Cooking! Food and gastronomy are two very important components of Italian culture.

Italian Cooking

To really gain a sense for Italian culture, we encourage you to try your hand at Italian cooking. Apart from this article, we recommend you do a little outside research on the customs of cooking and the typical dishes of each region in Italy. This will help you prepare for traveling abroad, as well as learning the language. Or, if you’re not looking to travel, learning recipes is a simple way to bring a little bit of Italy into your home!

We’d like to show you our list of wonderful Italian food blogs to help you learn and cook your favorite Italian meals. Let’s take a look!


1) Italian Food Forever 

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This is a great website for recipes, tips in the kitchen, and info about Italian cooking schools. It even has a section on Italian tourism, including links for travel guides and tourism sites. Here’s an excerpt from the About section, written by the blog’s author, Deborah Mele:

 

The essence of Italian cooking today is simplicity. One uses the freshest seasonal ingredients possible, and then uses basic cooking techniques to simply enhance the natural flavor of the food. While living in Italy, I spent many hours each week browsing through the market stands overflowing with the vibrant colors of each season’s bounty. I learned to keep “an Italian kitchen” during this period, and to plan my daily menu only after visiting the local market or grocery to see what was fresh that day.

 

Check out this recipe on homemade Gnocchi!


2) Silvia’s Cucina

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This is a great online (and physical) Italian cookbook. Once you see the pictures, you’ll want to start cooking these mouthwatering dishes pronto! The blog’s author, Silvia Colloca, writes this on her About Silvia page:

 

In Silvia’s Cucina, you are invited into my kitchen to share the unfussy, delicious recipes that have been passed down through my family for generations. My food is traditional, authentic, mostly simple, and embedded in it is the legacy of the hands of my mother and grandmother (those hands, always at work on some sauce or buried in dough!).

Since leaving Italy eight years ago, I’ve seen, of course, how much Italian food is loved around the world. But I’ve also come to understand that it is a cuisine that is perceived as rich and fatty, to be approached occasionally, and then with some caution. In Silvia’s Cucina, I am striving to change this misapprehension by showing how to cook everyday authentic, healthy Italian food.

 

Look at this recipe for linguine with clams and zucchini cooked risotto style!


3) Emiko Davies

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International traveler and writer Emiko Davies shares firsthand about her experiences with food and wine in the region of Firenze. Here’s what Emiko says about herself in the About section:

 

I’m half Japanese, half Australian, but have spent two-thirds of my life living in other countries. After growing up in Beijing, China, and doing a Fine Art degree in Providence, Rhode Island, I ended up in Florence, Italy. There, I fell in love with a handsome local – now my husband, a sommelier and my ideal gastronomic partner in crime. In a battle over who gets to cook dinner he usually wins. And especially now that we have a little girl, I let him. We live in Tuscany.

 

Take a look at this juicy recipe of Emiko’s on Bruscetta!


4) Divina Cucina 

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This blog is a wonderful mix of recipes and personal experiences from the author, Judy. Her experiences are as heartfelt as they are joyous. She also gives private cooking tours around Italy! Here’s an excerpt from her About Judy section:

 

I had worked as a pastry chef in a 5 star hotel in San Francisco, but wanted to get out of the kitchen and start to teach. In 1984, I turned 30 and bought a one-way ticket to Europe, planning on spending one month in France and one month in Italy taking Italian lessons.

In France, I reconnected with old friends and possible places I could work, but when I arrived in Florence, I fell in love – first with the city, and then a year later with a Florentine. My first years here were spent learning the language and the cuisine. My first job cooking was as a pastry chef in a private restaurant in town. After 4 years, I finally felt ready to teach.

 

Check out this post she wrote about a new way to make pizza!


5) Mario Batali

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Renowned chef Mario Batali shares his secret recipes with the exact ingredients and steps you need to emulate his food. His blog features great videos that walk you through the steps for cooking his delectable dishes. Here’s a little bit about Mario from his website’s About section:

 

Raised in Seattle, Mario attended high school in Madrid and studied the golden age of Spanish theater at Rutgers University. Soon after graduating, Mario enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu in London, his first formal culinary training. But after a few short months, he withdrew to apprentice with London’s legendary chef Marco Pierre White.

During three years of intense culinary training in the Northern Italian village of Borgo Capanne (population 200), Mario learned the essential skills to return to his native US eager to plant his orange-clad foot firmly on the checkered-tablecloth Italian restaurant establishment.

 

Look here for the first Italian dish you must master.


6) Learn Italian Wines

Untitled design (3)

In this blog, author Tom Hyland talks about current trends in the Italian wine industry. It’s nice to read about Italian wines from the perspective of someone who has mastered the acquired taste of fine wines. Read a little more about Tom’s background from this excerpt on his blog:

 

I am a freelance wine writer and photographer specializing in the wines of Italy. I live in Chicago and recently completed my 64th trip to Italy. I have visited virutally every region in the country and am constantly amazed at the wonderful variety of wines produced from indigenous grapes (I am never amazed at the quality of the wines!). I have been in the wine business for 34 years, have been writing for 17 years and have been a professional photographer for the past eight years.

 

Check out this article on the 50 best white wines in Italy.


7) Eating Italy Food Tour 

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Traveling to Italy soon? Book a tour with this company to experience Italian food in a group setting in major Italian cities. They’ll make sure that your taste buds experience only the finest of Italian cuisines. Here’s a little more about Eating Italy from their About section:

 

We are giving people a taste of Rome they won’t soon forget by exposing them to real food, people and neighborhoods. Our mission is to leave travelers with an unparalleled, non-touristy, food-related experience in undiscovered neighborhoods of the most fascinating cities in the world.

 

Look at these essential foods to try on your next trip to Venice!


8) Eataly Food Blog 

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This outstanding restaurant and market, with franchises in New York and Chicago, shares some very interesting “How To Italian Guides” on their online magazine. They feature authentic and delicious ready-to-make Italian dishes. You’ll enjoy this excerpt from the “How To Truffle” guide:

 

Ancient Romans believed that the truffle was created when lightning struck damp earth. Today, we know that the small tuber grows underground in the wild forests of northern and central Italy. Even so, modern Italians – and Eatalians – maintain the magic of the truffle, referring to the earthy and aromatic ingredient as “a fairy apple,” “a diamond of the kitchen,” and “the gem of poor lands.”

 

Have a look at this guide on how to bake bread!


9) Lidia

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Famous Italian Chef Lidia Bastianich shares so graciously in her online journal some of her delicious Italian meals. She features everything from appetizers to desserts. It’s almost impossible to go wrong with Lidia’s meals! Learn a little more about Lidia from her website’s About section:

 

She is the chef/owner of four acclaimed New York City restaurants – Felidia, Becco, Esca and Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s Pittsburgh and Lidia’s Kansas City – along with her daughter Tanya. She is also founder and president of Tavola Productions, an entertainment company that produces high quality broadcast productions. Lidia also has a line of pastas and all natural sauces called LIDIA’S.

Along with her son, Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali and Oscar Farinetti, the team opened Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in New York City, Chicago and Sao Paolo, Brazil.

 

This recipe for chicken parmigiana looks delicious!


10) Cooking With Nonna

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Everyone loves cooking with their nonna (grandmother)! Learn how to make your own Italian desserts, soups, and sides in this blog, Cooking with Nonna. They even have recipes for certain holidays, such as New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. Here’s more about the blog from its About Us section:

 

With Cooking with Nonna, we would like to bring to the public yet another facet of the cooking experience. We believe that many of the most original recipes around the world are not necessarily held by the professional chefs that we find in the many restaurants around the world or in the now very popular celebrity cooking shows. After all, they learned their trade either from a culinary school or by working side by side with an established chef. In reality however, the ones that indeed hold the secrets to the most original recipes are our Nonne, our grandmothers.

 

See which Italian cookies and desserts here look good to you!


11) Bobby Flay 

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This prestigious gourmet chef makes some hot and spicy Mediterranean dishes! Bobby’s recipes are easy to follow and mouthwatering to boot. In case you haven’t heard of the world-famous Bobby Flay, here’s more about him on his website’s About Bobby section:

 

Food is the epicenter of my life – what inspires me every day. It’s the way I make my living, the way I relax, the way I express myself, and how I keep healthy. I communicate with the world, and experience the world, through food. As such, this site is about more than just recipes: It’s a place to come for fitness tips, travel ideas, cooking techniques and behind-the-scenes videos – anything and everything about life in the kitchen, and beyond.

 

Check out Bobby’s special Red Wine Sangria concoction!


Conclusion

I hope this list of Italian food blogs will give you an idea of how you can explore Italian food and culture yourself! As always, if you’re looking to enhance your Italian language skills, schedule a lesson today with an instructor who matches your style and learning goals. Remember to always ask questions and research anything you’re confused about. Happy cooking and happy learning!

 

Did any of these food blogs wet your appetite? If so, leave a comment below with a recipe you think looks delicious!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches Italian, singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

Photo by theintlkitchen

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4 Fantastic Tips for Studying Abroad in Italy

Tips for Studying Abroad in Italy (alt)Are you planning on studying abroad in Italy in the near future? If so, you’re destined to have a wonderful time! In this article, Italian teacher Liz T. gives you four very important tips for your educational stay in Italy…

 

Education in Italy

If you have the chance to study abroad while you’re in high school or in college, you should definitely study in Italy! Studying abroad can be one of the most rewarding opportunities of your life; academically, culturally, and socially.

Italy has so many wonderful cities that are friendly to international students, such as Florence, Bologna, and Sienna. Moreover, the education in Italy is top quality, with accredited schools such as the University of Florence and the University of Rome.

Before you solidify your choice to study abroad in Italy, look over these tips to help you make the most of your experience studying abroad!

 

1. Learn the Language Before You Go

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Try and learn Italian as much as you can at home before you go. If you learn the pronunciation and the sound of the language, you’ll feel more comfortable as a foreigner.

It’d be best to practice speaking, writing, reading, and hearing the language in all platforms. If you need to learn Italian fast, I’d recommend consuming newspapers, television shows, movies, and radio broadcasts to get a feel for the language.

Vocabulary

It’s also recommended to find some useful Italian phrases you can use for when you first arrive. It’ll come in handy to express yourself in certain situations, such as when you visit banks, laundromats, restaurants, and grocery stores.

One great way to practice this vocabulary is through flash cards! On the plane ride over to Italy you could make yourself some flashcards and test yourself. The vocab should consist of basic topics, such as numbers, months, food, colors, parts of the body, and so on. Flashcards are a proven memorization tactic for vocabulary, so make it a habit to practice them as much as possible.

 

2. Experience the Culture

2

Although I’m sure you’ll be studying very hard in your classes, don’t forget to experience the arts and culture of the new Italian community you’re living in! You should soak up everything you can; museums, restaurants, theaters – anything and everything! Maybe you’ll discover some common Italian stereotypes that you only ever hear about in movies.

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and go out, meet new people, and see new places. If you stay in your dorm room the majority of your stay, you’ll miss the chances to hang out with people your own age. Italy has its fair share of night clubs and bars where young people gather at all hours of the day.

It would also be a great idea for you to start conversations in Italian. As an incentive, you can offer to teach your Italian friend(s) your native language. There are a lot of organizations abroad, as well as meetup groups, that specialize in bringing young people together in exchange for learning their language and culture. It’s easier to coordinate than you may think!

Travel Around

Italy is known for it’s food, art, and music – you’ll want to get a taste of all three! In order to get a well-rounded experience, try to travel around Italy as much as possible. Traveling throughout Italy is very easy; the trains run very fast and are quite affordable, flights are pretty cheap, and renting a car is a fairly easy task.

Depending where you are, there are many great cities in the North to visit, such as Turin, Milan, Trieste, Venezia to the South Rome, Napoli, Florence, and the islands of Sicily and Sardegna. Each region has its own specialties that you’re going to want to experience!

 

3. Adapting to the Culture

3

Living abroad can bring you many challenges if you’re not used to the language, culture, and customs of a new city. The customs that you practice in your homeland are not going to be the same as they are in Italy.

Here are some examples of Italian customs:

We’re Closed

  • Businesses, stores, and restaurants are generally open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and then closed until about 7 p.m. for Siesta time. That means restaurants do not usually serve dinner until 9 p.m. at night! I recommend planning your shopping in Italy around these Siesta closing times.

Telling the Time

  • 24 hours clocks are used in Italy, so 1 p.m. U.S. time would be 13:00, 2 p.m. would be 14:00, and midnight would be 24:00, and so on. Also, in lieu of the time difference, you should get your body used to being either six or nine hours ahead of your home country.

For Here or To-Go

  • In restaurants, you won’t really see “Takeaway” or “To-Go” orders. Even the chain coffee shops expect you to sit down and have coffee in the morning. It’s very hard to find a “To-Go” cup on the run. Also, going out to eat can be a long process; to even get a menu, food, and the bill can take at least two hours, so make sure you plan for this!

Seconds Please

  • While food is much cheaper in Italy than in the States, know that portions may not be as big (they have several meals or courses a day, such as antipasti, insalta, primo corso, secondo corso). With that being said, the portions in Italy are generally bigger than the rest of the countries in Europe.

My Brand

  • Your favorite brands, like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Hershey’s Chocolate, or Tylenol may not be available. It’s definitely possible to find similar brands, but you’ll have to search for them in Italian.

Plug It In

  • The electric wall plugs are different in Italy. Shocking, isn’t it? You’ll need adapters to switch the voltage for all of your appliances, like your computer, hairdryer, alarm clock, and more. Adapters can be very expensive once you’re abroad, so I recommend picking up a few in your homeland before you travel.

 

4. Stay Organized in Italy

4

Make sure you have your finances and documents organized before you go to Italy. Moreover, plan to have your finances covered during each semester you’re studying there. The most important things to get are: a current passport and a visa.

Documentation

Official processes for visas and documents can take anywhere from six to nine months, so it’s very important to start this process immediately. You’ll need original copies, as well as signed documents of specific items. Make sure you fulfill all of the requirements before you begin travelling. Be warned that the police in Italy can stop you at anytime to look at your legal documents. You wouldn’t want to arrive to your program late or be unable to complete it because you didn’t have the proper legal documents sorted out.

Finances

Italy is currently using the euro, which is more expensive than the U.S. dollar. However, the exchange rates are changing everyday. You may be able to make or lose money depending on the rates. Check to see if your tuition payments are in dollars or euros and spend accordingly. You may need to convert currency before you start setting up logistics like your apartment, bills, medical needs, and anything of the utmost importance.

Here’s a huge recommendation in regard to your finances: keep your bank accounts from your home country and start a new bank account in Italy. This will allow you to have money in both currencies, as well as an Italian debit or credit card for emergencies.

Communication

Your current cellphone provider will most likely not work in Italy – but if it does, you’ll probably be charged enormous fees. If you have an iPhone, you can try and get it unlocked so that you can use a different provider or an Italian simcard. If you want to tweak your iPhone for this reason, keep in mind that there are risks involved (damaging your software, losing information, losing warranty coverage, etc.).

Another option for your phone is to suspend the service and only use it for wifi. Or if you don’t even need wifi, you can keep your phone in airplane mode (which cuts it off from all wireless activities). Many chatting apps, such as Skype, Viber, or Whatsapp will allow you to text and call others for free or for low prices. If you decide to buy a new phone in Italy, you can get simcards from popular providers such as Orange, Vodaphone, and Movistar.

Safe Travels!

These are some tips I wish I would have known before studying abroad in Italy myself! I hope that you’ll take these tips into consideration while you’re planning your semester studying abroad. If you would like to learn more about studying abroad, the education in Italy, or for private Italian language lessons, schedule a lesson with a teacher on TakeLessons today!

 

Did you find these tips useful for studying abroad in Italy? If so, please leave a comment below!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches Italian, singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

Photo by FaceMEPLS

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Useful Italian Phrases and Tips for Dating

useful italian phrases

Navigating through the complex world of dating is hard enough, let alone trying to do it in a foreign country. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some useful Italian phrases and tips for dating…

You’ve tried Italian cuisine, explored every inch of the Vatican, and survived your first Italian conversation. Is dating an Italian next on your bucket list?

Perhaps you’re planning on studying abroad in Italy, or you’re simply mesmerized by the sophisticated allure of Italians. Whatever the case, dating in Italy is quite different from your local dating scene back home.

Below are some useful Italian phrases and tips for dating so you can navigate the Italian dating world con gusto. But first, let’s go over some Italian dating tips:

Helpful Tips for Dating Italians

While they’re aren’t any hard and fast rules to dating Italians–as every individual is different–there are some things to keep in mind as you play the field. Below are some helpful tips for both men and women:

  • Italians are a very fashionable bunch. If you want to attract a date, be sure to dress appropriately at all times. Torn, revealing, or heavily worn clothing are a big no-no.
  • Ladies, don’t be too showy. Italian men are drawn to women who are elegant, funny, and intelligent. Bottom line, be your charming self!
  • Italians are often outgoing and expressive. Don’t be alarmed if your date gets enthusiastic, as he or she is just expressing his or her emotions.
  • Family is very important to Italians. Be respectful of that and show an interest in getting to know and learning about your significant other’s family members.

Useful Italian Phrases for Dating

What’s the key to a successful relationship? Communication. To make sure that you can successfully communicate with your date, brush up on your Italian language with these useful Italian phrases:

Below are some useful Italian phrases for sparking up a conversation with someone who peaks your interest:

  • Posso offrirti qualcosa? (Can I buy you a drink?)
  • Come stai? (How are you?)
  • Posso unirmi a te? (Can I join you?)

If you like the person you meet, you might continue to see each other. Here are some words associated with dating:

  • farsi delle storie (to see each other)
  • uscire (to go out on a date, but it can also be used in a more general context of leaving the house to go out somewhere)
  • accompagnarsi (to go with, accompany)

Italians enjoy doing various activities with the person they’re dating. For example, you might find yourself doing any one of the activities below:

  • fare una passeggiata (taking a walk)
  • andare al cinema (going to the movies)
  • cucinare insieme (cooking together)

Once you start seeing someone, you might want to clarify your relationship. The following words will help you to explain the status of your relationship:

  • il mio ragazzo/la mia ragazza (my boyfriend/my girlfriend)
  • il mio fidanzato/la mia fidanzata (my fiancé/my fiancée)
  • il mio amante/la mia amante (my lover [male/female])
  • innamorarsi (to fall in love [with each other])
  • divertirsi (to have fun)
  • relazione, rapporto (relationship)

As you fall more in love with the person you’re dating, you may want to use more affectionate names for them. There are many possibilities when it comes to affectionate terms for your partner, but here is a sampling of some of the most typical:

  • amore (love)
  • tesoro (honey or literally meaning ‘treasure’)
  • cucciolo (my pet or literally meaning ‘puppy’)

Learn more romantic Italian phrases here!

The better you are at speaking Italian and understanding the customs of Italy, the easier you’ll find it to date in Italy. Dating an Italian can be a fascinating, fun, and unique experience. Who knows, you may just find eternal love (amore eterno)!f

nadiaBPost Author: Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

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10+ Fun Italian Grammar and Vocabulary Games for Kids

italian grammar

Learning Italian grammar and vocabulary can be difficult for kids. Below, Italian teacher Nadia B. shares some games parents and teachers can play to help engage kids in learning Italian…

For kids, learning Italian can be a great adventure, filled with exciting new discoveries. As your child explores the joy of learning Italian, you can aid him or her by playing fun Italian grammar and vocabulary games.

These games are chock-full of fun activities so that learning Italian can become less painless and more fun! Below are 10+ Italian grammar and vocabulary games that will make a big difference in your child’s learning.

1. Rhymes and Tongue Twisters

These fun and imaginative verbal adventures will help your child to think of Italian as a playful and colorful exploration, not to mention build a strong Italian vocabulary and understanding of syntax and grammar.

You can trade off reciting lines of a rhyme, have a tongue twister competition, or read a fable before bedtime. Before you know it, learning Italian will be just another fun part of the day.

2. Memory Games

Using index cards, write out some Italian vocabulary words. Try choosing a theme (for example, colors or animals). Then, create a matching card with a related vocabulary word.

Lay them all out with the words face-down and have your child try to select the pairs. Recalling where each word is located will help the vocabulary word stick in your child’s mind.

3. Make Assuming Sentences

This game is similar to MadLibs, as you provide all the parts of a sentence and then allow your child to choose words to form a unique sentence.

Here’s how to do it: Write out all of the pronouns (io, tu, lui, lei, Lei, noi, voi, loro), a selection of verbs (volare, ridere, sorridere, pensare, andare), and some nouns (il gatto, il cane, l’albero, il poliziotto, l’Italia, etc.)

Keep each category of words in its own pile. Your child can select a pronoun, verb and possibly a noun to form a sentence. For example, “Io volo con il gatto” (I fly with the cat).

You can help your child to form grammatically correct sentences by providing prepositions (con, sopra, sotto) when needed. The sillier the sentence, the better!

4. Sing in Italian

Download, purchase, or stream some simple songs in Italian in which you and your child can sing along. For example, you can search for Christmas carols or lullabies.

Encourage your child to sing along, or to sing from memory when you have free time in the car, while walking, or some other time. Sing along together, or help your child as needed to remember the lyrics.

5. Charades

Charades is a really fun game and there are so many opportunities to tailor it to your child’s needs. First, write out a selection of verbs, nouns or phrases to act out.

Once you’ve formed two teams, start by having the first team draw a verb, noun, and phrase to act out while the other team guesses. This can be as simple as two teams — you and your child — or can involve other children and family members.

6. I Spy

This game is an excellent option when you’re on the go or exploring a new place. It will encourage your child to view and describe his or her surroundings in Italian.

You can give your child a prompt of “Io vedo…” (“I see…”) and then let him or her choose an item to identify in Italian. For example, “Io vedo una nuvola grande e bianca.” (I see a big, white cloud).

7. Describe an Imaginary Friend

If your child has an imaginary friend, ask him or her to describe him or her to you in Italian. For example, “Luisa è simpatica, alta e bionda. Le piace nuotare e saltare la corda.” (Luisa is friendly, tall and blond. She likes to swim and jump rope.).

This helps to build useful Italian vocabulary. You can also ask your child to talk to his or her imaginary friend in Italian! This is a playful way to show your child that Italian can be spoken anywhere and anytime.

8. Italian in the Kitchen

If you’re busy cooking in the kitchen, why not get your child involved? Go online to find a recipe in Italian to use. As you cook, have your child read the recipe and then ask him or her to name the ingredients as they go in the pot to be cooked.

You can also ask your child to retrieve ingredients with the Italian name (for example, farina, latte, pane), and describe the colors and size (“Com’è il pomodoro?” “What’s the tomato like?”). This is also a great Italian culture activity, as cooking and eating together as a family is a common tradition in Italy.

9. Identify Characteristics

Gather up some old magazines or newspapers laying around the house. Cut out pictures of objects and people from those magazines, and have your child describe the particular scene in Italian.

Encourage your child to use color, specific characteristics, and numbers to practice adjectives, quantity and more!

10. Give Commands

Designate a piece of clothing or a certain item, such as a hat or a scarf. Whenever someone is wearing that particular item, he or she is responsible for issuing commands to the other people in the group.

For example, the person wearing the item could say the following: “Gira a la destra; dimmi un piccolo racconto; chiamami ‘Alessandro’ quando mi parli” (“Turn to the right; tell me a short story; call me Alessandro when you speak to me”).

This game is meant to be silly and encourage children to practice commands in a fun and memorable way. The roles reverse whenever the person with the item issues a command that the other person chooses not to obey, or doesn’t obey.

11. Ask Questions

Ask your child any question in Italian. You can find a set of questions in your child’s Italian textbook or online. If your child  answers the question with the proper Italian grammar, he or she can then ask you a question.

The game can be played with just the two of you, or with other children. This is another exercise that can be silly and amusing, while simultaneously reinforcing interrogative words, grammar, and vocabulary.

Learning Italian doesn’t have to be boring. Make learning enjoyable for your child by playing games with him or her in between his or her lessons.

Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov

nadiaBPost Author: Nadia B.
Nadia B. teaches Italian in New York, NY. She graduated summa cum laude from New York University, with a double degree in Italian Language and Literature and Classical Music Performance. Learn more about Nadia here!

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5 Most Difficult Italian Grammar Rules Made Simple

italian grammar

Are you ready for a lesson in Italian grammar? Below, Italian teacher Liz T. breaks down the five most difficult Italian grammar rules…

Learning Italian can be difficult, not to mention overwhelming for new students. Many students are afraid of tackling Italian grammar, as it can be complex and confusing at first.

If you take the time to learn Italian grammar, however, you’re much more likely to understand what you’re actually saying, hearing, reading, and writing.

Below, we break down the five most difficult Italian grammar rules to make it easier for you to understand.

1. Nouns and Adjectives

We categorize nouns and adjectives as either masculine and feminine. Typically, nouns ending in -o are masculine, while nouns ending in -a are feminine. See examples below.

  • Feminine: “Donna” (woman)
  • Masculine: “Uomo” (man)

If the noun ends in -i that means it’s masculine, but plural and nouns ending in -e are feminine, but plural. See examples below.

  • Masculine: “Bambini” (children)
  • Feminine: “Ragazze” (girls)

2. Singular vs. Plural

Knowing how to create singular and plural nouns can be difficult. While there are a few tricks to remembering the rules, it’s really all about memorizing the endings. See examples below.

Nouns ending in singular -o switch to plural -i

  • Amico” is changed to “Amici” (Friend, Friends)

Nouns ending in singular -a switch to plural -e

  • Torta” is changed to “Torte” (Cake, Cakes)

Nouns ending in singular -ca switch to -che

  • Mucca” is changed to “Mucche” (Cow, Cows)

Nouns ending in singular -e switch to -i

  • Professore” is changed to “Professori” (Professor, Professors)

3. Introducing “The” Definite Articles (Singular)

Singular:

There are two main forms of the definite article in the singular, il (masculine) and la (feminine) and two alternate forms. l’ for any noun starting with a vowel, and –lo, for any masculine noun starting with s- plus a consonant, p-s, or -z. See examples below:

Masculine singular

  • Example: “Il gatto” (the cat)

Feminine singular

  •  Example: “La gatta” (the cat)

Masculine noun starting with a vowel

  • Example: “L’uomo” (the man)

Feminine noun starting with a vowel

  • Example: “L’amica” (the friend)

Masculine noun starting with a -s plus a consonant

  • Example: “Lo Zio” (the uncle)

Plural:

Le is used to describe plural feminine

  • Le Ragazze” replaces La or L’.

I is used to describe plural masculine

  • I Ragazzi” replaces il.

Gli is used to describe plural masculine

  • Gli Zii” replaces Lo or L’.

4. Indefinite Articles “A, An” Describing Nouns

Masculine nouns use “Un” before a vowel or consonant.

  • Example: “Un libro” (a book)

Masculine nouns use “Uno” before consonant beginning with -s, -z, -gn, -ps etc.

  • Example: “Uno specchio” (a mirror)

Feminine nouns use “Una” before consonant.

  • Example: “Una donna” (a woman)

Feminine nouns use “Un” before vowel

  • Example: “Un’attrice” (a actress)

5. Italian Pronouns to Use When Describing People

According to Italian grammar, there are singular pronouns and plural pronouns. Below is a table that will help you better memorize the singular and plural pronouns:

Italian Pronouns

To gain a better understanding of the Italian language, it’s important to master these five grammar rules. Use flash cards, write them down, put them in a song, use visuals, anything that will help you memorize them.

Here are some additional Italian grammar articles that can help supplement your studies:

Photo by Phil Roeder

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, music and Italian lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in vocal performance and has a graduate certificate in arts administration from New York University. Learn more about Liz here!

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italian grammar

Italian Grammar: Mastering the Informal and Formal ‘You’

italian grammar

When it comes to Italian grammar, understanding the informal and formal ‘you’ can be very difficult. Below, Italian teacher Giulio G. shares some tips and tricks on how master this common Italian grammar conundrum…

In the Italian language, there are three ways to say ‘you’; tu (informal) Lei (formal) and Voi (plural)For beginner Italian students, it can be difficult to determine the correct form when speaking. After all, there’s only one ‘you’ in the English language.

Nonetheless, it’s important that you choose the correct form when conversing with others. This is especially important when you’re in formal settings; for example, when you’re first meeting someone, speaking with an older person, or addressing a person with higher rank or authority.

Below is an Italian lesson on mastering the informal and formal ‘you’:

Tu (Informal)

Typically, tu is used in everyday conversation. For example, you would use tu when talking to someone your own age or younger.

You may also use tu when speaking to someone that you know well, such as a friend or a family member. See examples below:

  • Scusami, sai dov’è la stazione? (You are asking for directions to a person you already know)
  • Claudia, vuoi venire a cena a casa nostra? (Claudia is a friend of yours)
  • Non capisco questo esercizio. Me lo puoi spiegare (You are asking a friend of yours to explain an exercise to you)

Lei (Formal)

Lei is used in a more formal setting. For example, when a person addresses someone with whom he or she has a professional relationship, such as a colleague or professor.

It’s also used when a person starts a conversation with someone with whom he or she does not have any previous relationship. See examples below:

  • Mi scusi, sa dov’è la stazione? (You are asking for directions to a complete stranger)
  • Dottor Rossi, vuole venire a cena a casa nostra? (Dottor Rossi can be your boss, an elderly person, or an important figure)
  • Non capisco questo esercizio me lo può spiegare? (You are asking your professor for help)

Oftentimes, once you get to know an Italian they will ask you, “Possiamo darci del tu?“, which means they would like switch to the tu form now that they’re more comfortable with you.

Voi (Plural)

In the past, voi was often used as a formal way of addressing someone and showing respect; for example government officials or the Pope.

Oftentimes, children would use it to address their elders. See examples below:

  • Padre, oggi indossate una così bella cravatta. (Father, you are wearing such a beautiful tie today.)
  • Grandma, are you going to the Mass? (Grandma, are you gong to the Mass?)
  • Vostra eminenza, potreste incontrarmi? Ho bisogno di un consiglio. (Your Eminence, could you meet me? I need advice.)

Voi, however, is no longer really used in normal social situations. Nonetheless, it’s important to be familiar with how to use it just in case.

Learning the Italian grammar rules for the informal and formal ‘you’ isn’t easy. However, working with your Italian teacher and practicing on your own is a good way to master this pesky Italian grammar rule.

Giulio GPost Author: Giulio Giannetti
Giulio G. teaches in-person Italian lessons in New York City. He is originally from Florence, Italy and is currently a student at the University of Florence for Languages and Intercultural Relations. He has been teaching lessons since 2009. Learn more about Giulio here!

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50+ Fun and Interesting Facts About Italy

From it’s charming countryside to its rich heritage, Italy is a wonderfully unique place to visit. In fact, the country is the fifth most visited place in the world!

There are so many fun, interesting facts about Italy that it’s hard to compile just one short list. So we’ve compiled the 50 most interesting facts about Italy that we think you’ll enjoy.

Whether you’re planning your next vacation to Italy or you’re permanently relocating , learning everything you can about the country–from its history to its native language–will make your stay that much more enjoyable.

1

  • Italy is the fifth most visited country in the world, welcoming some 46 million foreign visitors annually. It’s also the fifth most populous country in Europe.
  • Vatican City in Rome is the smallest country in the world and is led by the Pope himself.
  • Another interesting fact about Italy, the capital of Italy, Rome, is almost 3,000 years old.
  • The colors of the Italian flag–green, white, and red–have special meaning. Green represents hope, white represents faith, and red signals charity.
  • Italy boasts the eighth largest economy in the world.

2

  • Many musical terms are written in Italian because early composers from the Renaissance era were Italian.
  • In the Italian language, Lei (she) and Loro (they) have a special meaning. These terms are used in formal settings to address people in which you have a professional relationship, such as a colleague or professor.
  • Of all the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin.
  • From Venetian to Sicilian, there are dozens of Italian dialects used throughout the country.
  • There are only 21 letters in the standard Italian alphabet. The Italian alphabet doesn’t have the have the letters J, K, W, X or Y.

3

  • Don’t be surprised if your hotel in Italy doesn’t have a 17th floor. Italians believe that this number is unlucky because when the Roman numeral for 17 (XVII) is rearranged is looks like VIXI, which means “I have lived,” a symbol that’s associated with death.
  • Italians believe that the corincello charm, which resembles a chili pepper or a small horn, will protect them from the evil eye.
  • According to Italians, placing a hat on a bed is bad luck. Traditionally, when priests visited the dying to give them their last rights, they would remove their hat and put it on the bed.
  • If a cat is crossing the street, don’t be the first one to cross it’s path. It’s believed that black cats are a symbol of witchcraft and the devil.
  • Don’t give someone your best wishes. Instead, say “In bocca al lupo” or “into the wolf’s mouth,” as this means “good luck.”
  • Italians believe that if someone brushes over a single person’s feet with a broom that he or she will never get married.

4

  • Unsurprisingly, Italy is the world’s largest exporter of wine. However, it’s the second largest producer of wine after France.
  • On average, Italians eat half a pound of bread a day. What’s more, estimated pasta consumption is 70 pounds per person annually.
  • Bread is not meant to be an appetizer. Rather, Italians use it to wipe the remaining sauce off their plate.
  • When dining in Italy, don’t ask for salad dressing or other condiments. Olive oil is the only acceptable “condiment” in Italy.
  • From Cappelletti to Cavatelli, there are over 140 types of pastas. Some of these pastas are only native to specific regions.
  • Check out this interesting fact about Italy: Italians consume over 45 bottles of wine per year, per capita.

5

  • Europe’s three active volcanoes, Etna, Stromboli, and Vesuvius are all located in Italy.
  • Italy has more earthquakes than any other European country.
  • There is bronze statue of Jesus Christ submerged in the Mediterranean Sea off San Fruttuoso.
  • The island of Poveglia is said to be so haunted that public access is prohibited.
  • Almost four-fifths of Italy is either mountainous or hilly.

6

  • La famiglia is very much a part of the Italian culture. In fact, it’s common for single children to live at home until their 30s.
  • According to Italian culture, you must respect your elders. Always stand when an elder person enters the room.
  • Fashion is also important in Italy. After all, some of the world’s most sought after designers, such as Armani, Versace, and Prada, hail from Italy. If visiting, be sure to dress to impress—no flip flops!
  • Italians are known for communicating with hand gestures and facial expressions. They’re also known for being late!
  • First impressions are important to Italians, so be sure to demonstrate respect and politeness toward others–especially in a business setting.

7

  • Italy is home to the world’s oldest university, the University of Bologna founded in 1088.
  • Some of the most well-known artists and authors–including Dante, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo–are from Italy.
  • Italy has more masterpieces per square mile than any other country in the world.
  • Ballet originated in Italy during the 15th century and it was Catherine de Medici who introduced it to France later on.
  • Many of the most influential scientists and mathematicians were born Italy, including Galileo Galilei and Alessandro Volta.

8

  • In the city of Turin, dog owners must walk their pooch at least three times a day or risk being fined. Woof.
  • Unless you want to pay a hefty fine, don’t eat or drink while sitting on church steps or within a church courtyard.
  • You better turn that frown upside down when you’re in Milan. According to ancient law, citizens are required to smile at all times, unless they’re attending a funeral or visiting a hospital.
  • In 2012, the town of Falciano del Massico in Campania made it illegal for residents to die because the town’s cemetery is full.
  • On the beaches of Eraclea on the Venetian Lido, it’s illegal to make sandcastles or any other kind of sand structure.

9

  • In 1948, Roy Jacuzzi invented the Jacuzzi using specialized water pumps to help his son who was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
  • You can thank Bartolomeo Cristofori for developing the very first piano in 1698. Other musical instruments invented in Italy include the violin, the guitar, and the organ.
  • In 1896, the first ice cream cone was created by an Italian immigrant who settled in New York City.
  • No wonder why Italians love caffeine, the espresso machine is an Italian invention built by Angelo Moriondo in 1884.
  • Pretzels were actually first made in Italian in 610 by an Italian monk who gave them to children who learned their prayers.

10

  • Italy has hosted the Olympics three times in 1956, 1960, and 2006.
  • Italy has won the World Cup four times, the most Word Cup wins second to Brazil.
  • Believe it or not, volleyball is a very popular sport in Italy. In fact, the Italian Volleyball League is one of the most well-respected and talented leagues in the world.
  • Italy is host to one of the three most famous bike rides in Europe, “Giro d’Italia” (Tour of Italy).

Hopefully, these fun and interesting facts about Italy have inspired you to finally take that trip to Italy you’ve always dreamed of. Before you jet off to Italy, make sure you take some Italian lessons so you can speak to natives and learn even more interesting facts about Italy.

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