Buongiorno! Who doesn’t dream of beautiful Italy: world-class landscapes, breath-taking history, outstanding food, and the culture of dolce fare niente! Well, not quite niente - which means “nothing”. There’s probably one little thing you want to try: learning Italiano!
Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time in your busy life for learning more Italian?
Do you want to speak more like an Italian native?
Podcasts are a great way to add a little Italian listening practice into your day-to-day life. They are free, and can accompany any part of your day: driving a car, washing your dishes, doing laundry, working out, reading, and more.
The Fluent Show
In addition to the Italian podcasts you’ll find in this article, check out the Fluent Show. That’s my own show, co-hosted by Lindsay Williams, where we discuss languages, learning methods, and how to live a multilingual life. Click here to listen and subscribe.
Quick Primer: How Do Podcasts Work?
If you’re curious about podcasts, but not quite sure how they work, here’s what you need to know:
You can subscribe for free to podcasts on your phone, tablet, or computer
If you use an iPhone or iPad, you can use the Podcasts app. If you’re on a Mac, use the itunes directory
On a PC or Android device, try the Stitcher app for a quick and easy start
Subscribing means you’ll always have the latest episode ready and waiting for you as soon as it’s published
Italian is a great language for learning by podcast, so let's dive into that top 9 list
In this article you’ll find:
- Italian Podcasts For Beginners
- Italian Podcasts For Intermediate and Advanced Learners
- Italian Video Resources
- Podcasts To Help You Learn Everyday Italian
Italian Podcasts For Beginners
This is a very grammar-focused podcast, mostly in English, and focuses on making grammar points easily digestible through captivating stories and lots of dialogues. Their focus is on helping you speak. The coolest feature of each episode is a PDF transcript of the MP3 audio with notes and a discussion forum for each episode on the website.
ItalianPod101 from InnovativeLanguage covers the basic through advanced levels of Italian. The episodes are exciting and immersive. One episode I particularly enjoyed is Must-Know Italian Slang Words and Phrases - Expressions to Describe Someone You Dislike. It was one of the most humorous episodes and I learned about how colourful Italian insults can be!
The dialogues are presented by engaging hosts in a clear, concise way covering many grammatical features and cultural topics. On the website you can sign up for premium content to access spaced repetition flashcards, PDF lesson notes, and a community forum.
Italian Podcasts For Intermediate and Advanced Learners
News in Slow Italian, an intermediate level podcast, discusses world news, grammar, and expressions in the form of slowed down audio. Every episode is a virtual immersion into the Italian-speaking world showing grammar and vocabulary in context. The hosts are engaging and they show you that the language is alive and vibrant and waiting for you to dive into it.
The audio is very clear and easy to follow. On the website there are transcripts for each episode available with grammar, expressions, pronunciation, and quizzes.
Arkos Academy is mainly for the intermediate and advanced levels of learning Italian. The audio is mostly in Italian and the recordings are at a slower than normal pace, which allows you to really focus on strengthening your listening skills. There is also a lot of information on Italian culture and society, along with transcripts from each lesson on the website so that you can follow along and actively practice both your listening and reading at the same time.
As an added bonus, the Arkos Academy website offers a directory of private native teachers and excellent articles about Italy in Italian.
This podcast is almost entirely in Italian and is mainly designed for intermediate learners although you can easily select your level and choose to listen to episodes that are right for you. The website includes transcripts as well as helps learners learn colloquialisms in the “Usi Colloquiali” (Colloquial Uses) section. Host Davide mixes stories from his own life with handy new vocabulary - a winning mix!
The Italiano Automatico podcast is great for upper intermediate and advanced learners of Italian. It’s total immersion combined with lots of interesting topics and explains idiomatic and colloquial expressions. It is the companion podcast to the popular Italian learning website Italiano Automatico by Alberto Arrighini.
Italian Video Resources
Yabla is a video-based learning platform with bilingual subtitles and integrated dictionaries. The subtitles are interactive, which is a really cool concept! Check out how Yabla works in detail by reading my full review. One episode I particularly enjoyed is “Il mio mondo Su(r)-Reale” by Federica Reale, where she discusses how she conducts art workshops for children and adults to teach them how to create highly personalized books using recycled paper.
Yabla is great for all levels from basic to advanced, and you can check out their podcast and their videos for hours of entertainment.
Podcasts To Help You Learn Everyday Italian
This show is ideal for learners at any level. The podcast host Cher Hale is super charming, and she provides fun, useful content for Italian learners about the language and the culture.
The show covers a variety of topics way beyond your usual textbooks. Check out Cher's episodes on How to Write a Love Letter in Italian, Phrases to Buy Jewelry in Italy, or her Tips for Navigating the Train System in Italy.
Coffee Break Italian, a podcast from Radio Lingua Network, combines Italian language lessons with a lot of useful information about Italian food, culture, Italian speaking countries, and so on.
My favourite part of the podcast is the chemistry between relaxed and charismatic host Mark from Scotland, native Italian speaker Francesca, and Italian learner Katie as they guide through Italian grammar, conversation, culture, and society. I particularly enjoyed several episodes, including one about where the hosts talk about where you come from, nationalities, one about learning to talk about where you live, and the names of many countries. They were very fun to work through!
The dialogues are presented by engaging hosts in a clear, concise way covering many grammatical features and cultural topics. On the website you can sign up for the premium content to access spaced repetition flashcards, PDF lesson notes, and a community forum for a subscription fee.
Advanced Learner Tip: Native Italian Podcasts
The Italian podcast world has come a long way in recent times, and these days you’ll be able to find a big array of native level content to listen to when you want to get Italian language immersion. You can choose from a full catalogue of shows on topics from politics to film reviews.
The easiest way to access native Italian language podcasts is to go to iTunes and switch your country setting to Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, or Switzerland. There’s no restriction on your switch, and you’ll be able to access all podcasts in the same way that listeners from Italy can.
Do You Have an Italian Favourite?
If you like your podcasts in italiano, leave a comment below and share more recommendations.
This article was researched & co-written by Alex Gentry who also writes on Medium. Check him out!