Posts

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!

Need Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

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!


1

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.


2

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.


3

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.


4

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.


5

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.


6

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!


7

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:


8

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.


9

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.


10

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!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

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

1

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!

See Also: 6 Tips How to Make the Most Out of Your Semester Abroad

 

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

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource

 

interesting facts about italy

50+ Fun and Interesting Facts About Italy

There are so many fun, interesting facts about Italy that it’s hard to compile just one short list.

Whether you’re planning your next vacation to Italy or you’re just curious about this fascinating culture, learning everything you can about the country will make you even more impressed with all Italy has to offer.

Here, we’ve compiled the top 50 most interesting facts about Italy that we think you’ll enjoy.

Fun & Interesting Facts About Italy

Fun and Interesting Italian History Facts

Interesting Facts About Italy: History

  • 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 city of 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.

Fun and Interesting Italian Language Facts

Interesting Facts About Italy: Language

  • Many musical terms are written in Italian because early composers from the Renaissance era were Italian.
  • 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 letters J, K, W, X or Y.

Fun and Interesting Italian Superstitions

Interesting Facts About Italy: Superstitions

  • 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.

Fun and Interesting Italian Geography Facts

Interesting Facts About Italy: Geography

  • 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.

Fun and Interesting Italian Arts and Science Facts

Interesting Facts About Italy: Arts & Sciences

  • 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.

Fun and Interesting Italian Legal Facts

Interesting Facts About Italy: Law

  • 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.
  • 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.

Fun and Interesting Italian Culture Facts

Fun Facts About Italy: Culture

  • 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.
  • 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.

Fun and Interesting Italian Food and Wine Facts

Fun Facts About Italy: Food & Wine

  • 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.

Fun and Interesting Italian Inventions

Fun Facts About Italy: Inventions

  • 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.

Fun and Interesting Italian Sports Facts

Fun Facts About Italy: Sports

  • 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. But before you jet off to Italy, make sure you take some Italian lessons so you can speak to the locals and learn even more fun facts about Italy firsthand.

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

italian slang words

15 Italian Slang Words and Phrases Everyone Should Know

Picking up a few Italian slang words can work wonders to help you truly sound like a native. In this article, we’ll share 15 common Italian slang words and phrases so you can communicate easily with the locals.

Like Americans, native Italians use slang words and phrases to quickly communicate their emotions. Although they may not be grammatically correct, theses words are commonly used to explain many different types of situations in everyday life.

15 Italian Slang Words & Phrases

1. Mettersi insieme

Similar to “seeing someone exclusively” in English, “mettersi insieme” means to begin a serious relationship with someone.

2. Mollare qualcuno

Ouch! Use these Italian slang words when dumping a significant other. They’re roughly translated to “letting go” or “releasing someone free.”

3. Essere nelle nuvole

Italians use this phrase to describe someone who has his or her head in the clouds, or someone who’s constantly daydreaming.

4. Ricco sfondato

These Italian slang words are used to describe someone who’s rich. The phrase literally means “rolling in money.”

5. Veloce come un razzo

Similar to the American phrase,”fast as lightning,” “veloce come un razzo” means something or someone that is as fast as a rocket.

6. Amore a prima vista

Was it “love at first sight,” or as they say in Italy “amore a prima vista,” when you met your Italian crush? This is just one example of the dozens of Italian slang words to describe a romantic relationship.

Related: Fun and Interesting Facts About Italy

7. Alito puzzolente

Ew! You may need to use this Italian slang phrase to notify someone who has “bad breath.”

8. Guastafesta

What we know in America as a “Debbie downer,” is the Italian slang word, “Guastafesta.” This is someone who’s a spoiler or ruins the party.

9. Basta, basta

When your friend is annoying you, shout these Italian slang words which mean “enough is enough.”

10. I Malano miau

Are you shocked about what happened on last night’s episode of Game of Thrones? Use this Italian phrase to express shock or amazement.

11. Non fai scumbari

When your Italian grandmother won’t stop embarrassing you, simply say “Non fai scumbari” or “Stop embarrassing me.”

12. Pisolino

This Italian slang word means “afternoon nap,” which is very common in Italy.

13. Gufare

If you or someone else is experiencing bad luck, use the Italian slang word, “gufare.”

14. Dai

Similar to the American saying “Come on,” “Dai” is used when you want someone to tag along or do something. It can also be used to say “stop it.”

See Also: Learn the Italian Alphabet

15. Boh

The equivalent of the American phrase “I don’t know,” “Boh” is a quick phrase to say when you’re being indecisive.

If you want to make sure you’re using these Italian slang words appropriately, practice speaking with a native or an Italian tutor.

The more you use these Italian slang words and phrases in conversation, the better you will become at speaking Italian.

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches 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!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

useful italian phrases

La Famiglia: Useful Words & Phrases for the Family in Italian

family members in Italian

Many beginning Italian students ask, “How do I talk about my family in Italian?” If you’re asking the same question, you’ve come to the right place!

Family plays a big role in the Italian culture, so you should certainly learn the words and phrases for describing yours.

As you continue to learn the Italian language and culture, you’ll start to understand the importance of la famiglia. And soon you’ll be asked to describe your family to others.

Review the helpful Italian phrases and words below, so you’ll be able to hold a conversation about your family in Italian!

How To Talk About the Family in Italian

First, check out this slideshow to learn the various terms for the different members of your family. Notice that the article changes depending on the gender of the noun.

Here are some additional words for the family in Italian that will come in handy:

  • il marito (husband)
  • la moglie (wife)
  • il fidanzato (fiancé)
  • la fidanzata (fiancée)
  • il cognato (brother-in-law)
  • la cognata (sister-in-law)
  • il suocero (father-in-law)
  • la suocera (mother-in-law)

Did you know that in Italian, i parenti means relatives, and not parents? This false cognate is often misused by Italian beginners. The correct word for parents is: i genitori. And a more casual way to refer to your parents is i miei.

Now that you know the words for family members in Italian, let’s go over how to discuss your family in conversation. A common question when learning about someone’s family is who’s the oldest and who’s the youngest.

Below are some useful Italian phrases to correctly answer this question:

  • maggiore or più grande (the oldest)
  • minore or più piccolo (the youngest)
  • di mezzo (the middle)

If you ever need to describe your marital status, you can use the following terms:

  • sposato/a (married)
  • nubile (single)
  • dicorziato/a (divorced)
  • separato/a (separated)
  • vedovo/a (widowed)

SEE ALSO: How to Learn the Italian Alphabet

Grammar Tips for Describing the Family in Italian

When having a conversation about your family, there are some important grammar tips you must keep in mind.

When referring to a single member of the family, don’t use the definite article. For instance, tua sorella is correct, and la tua sorella is incorrect. If there is more than one member, you should use the definite article as you would normally. For example, le tue sorelle.

This rule, however, becomes null if the single family member you are referring to is modified in some way (for example, with an adjective, a prefix, suffix, or if the possessive is loro). In these cases, use the definite article. Here are some examples:

  • il mio caro cugino (cugino is modified by the adjective caro)
  • la mia bisnonna (nonna is modified with the prefix –bis)
  • il mio fratellino (fratello is modified with the suffix -ino)
  • la loro sorella (sorella is used with the possessive loro)

In addition, when using terms such as mamma and papà, if you use the article (i.e. la mia mamma / il mio papa) it has a more affectionate meaning. If you use it without the article (mia mamma / mio papà) it simply expresses the relationship as your mother or father.

RELATED: 50 Interesting Facts About Italy

Practice Using Italian Words for Family Members

Now that you know several words for the family in Italian, you can practice by creating sentences using the vocabulary. See the example below to help get you started:

La mia famiglia è molto grande. Mia madre ha sette fratelli, e ho molti cugini. Non ho sorelle, ma ho due fratelli minori. I miei genitori sono sposati da 1979. Adesso ho anche due cognate. Non ho ancora nipoti.

This translates to: My family is very large. My mother has seven siblings, and I have lots of cousins. I don’t have sisters, but I have two younger brothers. My parents have been married since 1979. Now I also have two sister-in-laws. I still don’t have nephews or nieces.

With these Italian phrases and words in your vocabulary, you’ll be well-equipped to describe your family in Italian. If you need more help, try working with an Italian tutor to improve your conversational skills!


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!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

5 Basic Rules of Italian Pronunciation

5 Basic Rules of Italian Pronunciation

Learning new vocabulary doesn’t get you far unless you know proper Italian pronunciation.

Italian is known for being one of the most beautiful languages, and learning how to correctly speak it is all about mastering the right sounds.

In this article, you’ll learn the five basic rules of Italian pronunciation for beginners.

5 Rules for Italian Pronunciation

Let’s take a look at five Italian pronunciation rules to help you better understand this language.

After the video, keep scrolling for more detail on these helpful tips and tricks!

1. Vowels

Similar to the English language, Italian uses the vowels, a, e, i, o, u. However, there is a slight difference in the way vowels are pronounced in Italian.

Here is how to pronounce Italian vowels. Remember that most words in Italian end in a vowel!

  • A- Ah (as in, Amore)
    • Practice it: “Ah-moh-reh”
  • E- Eh (as in, Bene)
    • Practice it: “Beh-neh”
  • I- eee (as in, Vino)
    • Practice it: “Vee-noh”
  • O- Oh (as in, Modo)
    • Practice it: “Moh-doh”
  • U- ooh (as in, Lungo)
    • Practice it: “Loohn-goh”

2. Consonants

Some Italian consonants – such as bfmn, and – are pronounced the same as they are in English.

The majority, however, are pronounced much differently. Below are some tips for how to pronounce Italian consonants.

If you need to hear them sounded out, watch the video above for more explanation.

  • D- Put your tongue to your teeth, to make the sound more explosive (for example, dove)
  • L- Sharper and more forward (for example, lingua)
  • H- Usually silent (for example, hanno)
  • P- A little less forced than in English (for example, pane)
  • Q- Always accompanied with a U after (for example, quanto)
  • R- Make sure you roll the R’s by flipping your tongue against your upper teeth (for example, arriverderci)
  • T- Very pronounced (for example, antipasto)
  • Z- Often can sound like T, but add more zest to it, especially when two Z’s are together (for example, pizza)

There are some consonants in the Italian language that have two unique pronunciations, such as:

  • S and SS- If S is used singular, in the middle of a word, it can often sound like a Z. If a double S (SS) is present, then the S is very much emphasized. (For example, casa, passare)
  • Z and ZZ- When used singular, it can be silent, as in Dizionario, but when doubled in Pizza it can sound more like a T.
  • G- If G appears before the letters A, O, or U, it has a hard sound like Grande, but if it precedes E or I, like in Gelato, it has a soft and gentle sound.
  • C- Before A, O, or U, it sounds like a K, as in Cane, but if before I or E, it has a CH sound, as in Cena.

3. Consonant Digraphs

Another important thing to know about when learning Italian pronunciation is that there are several consonant digraphs in Italian. These are combinations of two letters that make one sound.

Memorizing these combinations will allow you to more easily recognize the pronunciation of words. Below are some examples of how to pronounce Italian consonant digraphs correctly.

  • CH- Spoken as K (for example, Che)
  • GN- G is silent and N is hard (for example, Gnocchi)
  • GLI- G is silent, and L is the focus (for example, Famiglia)
  • SC- Before A, O, and U, it sounds like SK (for example, Scarpe). But if it’s before I or E, it has a SH sound as in Pesce.

SEE ALSO: Fun and Interesting Facts About Italy

4. Double Consonants

Many Italian words have double consonants.  It’s wise to remember that all consonants can be doubled except for the letter H because it’s always silent.

It’s common for English speakers to stumble over double consonants since there are very few in the English language.

Here’s a helpful hint: double consonants have a stronger and more forced pronunciation together. For example, the CC is pronounced as K in the word Secca.

5. Phonetics

Italian is a phonetic language, which means it’s written the way it sounds, and visa versa. This makes it fairly easy for English speakers to learn Italian pronunciation, compared to other languages.

Nonetheless, it’s very important that you take the time to learn correct pronunciation. There are tons of fun exercises that you can do to practice.

Try singing popular Italian songs such as “Volare” or “That’s Amore” to really get the feel of the pronunciation. You can also watch some Italian TV or listen to Italian radio.

With these tips you’ll be speaking perfect Italian in no time!

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

Photo by Steve Slater

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

funny italian phrases

10 Funny Italian Phrases That Will Have You Laughing Out Loud

The Italian language has a very unique style and sound. And there’s no doubt that Italians have their own sense of humor. Just like in English, Italians have a number of expressions and idioms they use when speaking.

In addition to mastering essential vocabulary words, it’s important that you learn these commonly-used expressions. After all, you don’t want to misinterpret what someone is saying to you. Below are 10 funny Italian phrases that are truly unique to the Italian language and culture!

1. Hai voluto la bicicletta? E adesso pedala!

Translation: You wanted the bike? Now you’ve got to ride it!

This sarcastic Italian phrase is similar to the English expression “I told you so.” Use this phrase when your friend has a little too much vino and wakes up with a killer hangover.

2. Braccia rubate all’agricoltura

Translation: Arms stolen from agricultural work

This funny Italian phrase refers to someone who’s studying or doing some type of intellectual work, but doesn’t quite know what they’re doing. In other words, this person is better suited for farm work. Ouch!

3. Non avere peli sulla lingua

Translation: Without hair on his tongue

Do you want your friend’s honest opinion? Then ask him or her to say it “without hair on his tongue.” Just be ready for the brutally honest truth!

4. Saltare di palo in frasca

Translation: To jump from a post to a pile of branches

This strange-sounding Italian phrase is similar to the English expression “going on a tangent.” Use this phrase when your friend is rambling on and on about something totally unrelated, and you just want them to shut up!

5. Avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca

Translation: To have the wine cask full and the wife drunk

Similar to the English expression, “to have your cake and eat it to,” use this snarky remark when you want to give a friend a hard time!

6. Avere le braccine corte

Translation: To have short arms

Meaning to have short arms, this funny Italian phrase is used to describe someone as cheap. In other words, the person’s arms are too short to even reach for his or her wallet. This phrase comes in handy when your friend mysteriously “forgets” his or her wallet and leaves you to pick up the check.

7. In bocca al lupo

Translation: Into the wolf’s mouth

Another strange sounding phrase, this Italian expression means “good luck” or the English equivalent of “break a leg.”

8. Essere al verde

Translation: To be on the green

Are you broke as a joke? Use this useful Italian phrase when you have to reluctantly call mom or dad and ask for some money. At least they will be happy you’re learning Italian!

9. Fare le corna a qualcuno

Translation: To have the horns put on you

A popular saying in Italy, this expression means that your girlfriend is cheating on you. Sorry guys!

10. Tirare il pacco

Translation: To throw the package

The English equivalent of the expression ” to stand someone up,” this funny Italian phrase means that your friend or date never showed up to meet you.

If you want to sound like a native Italian, practice these common Italian expressions with your English-speaking friends. If nothing else, you’re sure to have a laugh!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Newsletter Sign UpPhoto by Asim Bharwani

Top 5 Italian Travel Blogs to Read Before You Visit Abroad

Top 5 Italian Travel Blogs to Read Before You Visit Abroad

Have you been taking Italian language lessons for your upcoming trip to Italy? While it’s important to familiarize yourself with useful Italian phrases, it’s just as equally important to brush up on Italian culture. After all, understanding both the language and culture will make your trip even more enjoyable.

Luckily, there are hundreds of blogs that dish out helpful travel, language, and cultural tidbits no travel book would reveal from where to find the best pizza to the proper Italian etiquette. Here’s a list of our favorite Italian travel blogs that will help you effortlessly navigate throughout Italy.

My Melange

My Melange is the brainchild of European travel consultant and owner of Melange Travel, Robin Locker Lacey. My Melange is the go-to resource for all things Italian. The blog offers up tips on planning your dream vacation on a budget as well as advice on where to dine, stay, and eat while in Italy. Check out this awesome post about “What to Expect From Visiting a Bar in Italy and Popular Coffee Drinks.”

Italy Chronicles

Italy Chronicles covers everything from Italian food and drink to politics. The website’s “How-To” and “Travel” sections are where you’ll likely find the most valuable information, including helpful advice that you might have never thought of like where to find postage stamps or how to flush a toilet (there are nine ways!). Read the fun post here.

Girl in Florence

If you’re heading to the popular city of Florence, then you’ve got to check out Girl in Florence. Author Georgette, an American living in Florence, shares her best kept travel secrets and tips. From proper dress attire to language tips, you’ll be feeling like a native Italian in no time. Here’s a great post about “10 Mistakes That Expats in Italy Make.”

Walks of Italy

Walks of Italy helps travelers experience only the best that Italy has to offer. The blog shares a wide range of travel tips including useful Italian phrases travelers need to know, advice on driving throughout Italy, and major holiday traditions. We especially love this post on “The Best Travel Apps to Use in Italy.”

Margie in Italy

Author of Memoirs of a Solo Traveler-My Love Affair with Italy, Margie Miklas is the mind behind the blog Margie in Italy. In the blog, Margie shares her expert advice on how to travel throughout the various regions in Italy such as the Amalfi Coast and Verona. The blog also features guest posts from other travel experts. Check out her post on “Travel Tips for Visiting the Amalfi Coast in Italy.”

 

In addition to taking Italian lessons, it’s also a good idea to brush up on Italian culture and customs before your trip. These are just a few of the resources in which you can go to learn all things Italian. Happy travels!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!

Free TakeLessons Resource