Think learning how speak Italian means breaking the bank? Think again.
The internet is teeming with Italian language lessons that cost nothing. The only problem? Some of these no cost resources are good-quality, but others, not so much.
Not to worry. I’ve scoured the web to find as many high-quality, free Italian language lessons as I could. Check out the resources below, and you won’t have to worry about spending a single centesimo on your Italian lessons.
Free Online Podcasts to Help You Learn Italian
Get your Italian lessons in bite-sized podcast episodes whenever you want, either on your computer, tablet or smartphone.
ItalianPod101 Podcast: It’s a little-known fact that all of the Innovative Language podcasts, including ItalianPod101, are free to sign up for and offer quite a bit of free content. Sign up for an ItalianPod101 account and check out the lessons available for your skill level. After listening to these lessons, you’ll have a pretty good understanding of how the Innovative Language program works. Then you can decide if you’re interested in upgrading your account to a paid subscription.
Learn Italian Pod: With 175 lessons, Learn Italian Pod is one of the biggest Italian podcasts out there. Each episode starts with a short anecdote or news story narrated in Italian, followed by an explanation of the most important grammar and vocabulary points from the narration.
Coffee Break Italian: Relax and take in this popular Italian podcast while sipping a cup of cappuccino – but only if you haven’t just eaten! Italians never drink cappuccino immediately after a meal. Best stick with plain caffè after your meal if you’re on holiday in Italy.
Pastacast: This is a short podcast that ran for only six months, but it covers a surprising amount of material. It breaks down most of the more confusing Italian grammar points into simple elements. The host also tries to use simple English as much as possible for those listeners who don’t speak English as a first language.
Learn Italian with Free Audio Lessons
Listening comprehension is one of the toughest aspects of any foreign language. This is why it’s so important to include audio lessons in your Italian study routine. Here are some of the better no-cost audio resources I’ve found for Italian:
Audible Italian: If you’re an absolute beginner in Italian, this is a good place to start. Audible Italian teaches basic expressions for the most common situations you can expect to encounter on holiday in Italy. Each phrase comes with an audio recording of a native speaker saying the phrase. Listen to each one multiple times, and be sure to repeat after it out loud, to work on your speaking and listening skills at the same time.
One World Italiano: This website is bursting with useful Italian learning material. It contains a 37-part audio course for beginners, a 6-part course for intermediate students, and a 12-part video course. In the sidebar, there are many more lessons, as well as reading, writing and listening exercises that you can access for free.
Foreign Service Institute Italian FAST (Familiarization and Short-term Training) Course: This is the course that the US government’s Foreign Service Institute uses for training its own employees before they’re stationed overseas. It’s very structured and thorough, and is especially appealing to language learners who prefer a more classroom-oriented approach. Click on “Student Text” to download the textbook for the course, which includes instructions for how to use the course. Then follow along with the audio lessons.
YouTube: Free Online Videos for Learning Italian
Video lessons are especially useful for beginner and intermediate students. Having visual cues during a lesson helps you to understand what’s going on. Videos can also hold your attention better than purely audio courses can.
Speak Italian With Your Mouth Full: Learn about Italian cooking and language at the same time. Each lesson is divided into parts. In part 1, you watch an Italian teacher and chef teach new vocabulary and phrases to a class of students. Parts 2 and 3 are a cooking class where you can observe the students learning to cook an Italian dish while using the language material they just learned.
Lavori in Cors Genova: This YouTube course contains 67 detailed lessons about Italian grammar and vocabulary. Learn about every aspect of grammar that a beginner to intermediate student could want, such as object contracted pronouns, the various future tenses, and even how to swear in Italian!
Learn Italian with Marco: These video lessons from a very cheerful native Italian speaker will teach you a huge variety of useful Italian phrases. The narrator explains the relevant grammar and vocabulary for each phrase to help them stick in your mind.
ItalianPod101 free videos: ItalianPod101 has made many of their videos available to everyone on YouTube, so you don’t have to sign up for a paid subscription to access some of their amazing content. Check out the listening comprehension videos, which contain a dialogue that you’ll be tested on at the end of the video. If you’re very short on time, watch one of the “Italian in 3 Minutes” videos for a mini Italian lesson.
Italianissimo: This is a BBC series from the ‘90s whose goal was to teach Italian to beginners. It contains a mix of English and Italian and is appropriate even for absolute beginners. Try not to laugh too much at the early ‘90s cheesiness of the show – the material is top notch!
Benvenido in Casa Ba: Here is another television series designed specifically for foreigners learning Italian. It follows the story of a family who has just immigrated to Italy. It’s more advanced than Italianissimo, and is filmed entirely in Italian. Each episode comes with a transcript to follow along to if you get lost.
Free Online Italian Courses and Systems
Sometimes it’s just not the right time or place to watch videos or listen to audio lessons. In that case, take advantage of the courses below so you can study Italian even when “noisy” study methods are out of the question.
Italian Online Club: This hidden gem contains hundreds of lessons for Italian students, organised by difficulty according to CEFR levels, from A1 up to C2. Click on your level to get started. If you’re not sure of your level, take the placement test by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.
Iluss Free Resources: Learn from structured lessons sorted by skill level. Each lesson starts with an overview of the grammar point being covered, and then has a series of quizzes to test your knowledge. Many of the quizzes contain fill-in-the-blank questions, but some also include a listening comprehension component.
Duolingo Italian: For vocabulary and basic grammar exercises to do during your spare moments throughout the day, Duolingo is the go-to app for millions of language learners around the world. While I don’t recommend it be used exclusively, Duolingo can be a very useful supplement to your Italian studies.