The Mezzofanti Guild Language Learning Made Simple

25 Best And Worst Online Italian Courses In 2019


The problem with finding an online Italian course is not that there aren’t enough, but there are too many choices. 🙂

Italian’s an incredibly popular and desirable language for many.

It’s not just the desire to travel to Italy and communicate (though this is probably the most popular reason) but it’s also a great language to learn for professional development, business, relationships and more.

For example, careers in Italian translation can be lucrative.

Plus, Italian is just a fascinating, fun language to learn. 🙂

So today I want to sum up the best and most popular online Italian courses for you (I’ve used almost all of the ones listed below) and give you my personal opinion as an Italian speaker.

I’ll highlight what you can expect to get from each Italian course, price and any negatives it may have.

As you’ll see below, there are definitely some Italian courses that I’m not completely on board with and you may find a few resources that Donovan has written about previously (including links to those reviews).

Table Of Contents:

  1. Rocket Italian
  2. ItalianPod101
  3. Glossika Italian
  4. Pimsleur Italian
  5. italki
  6. Italian Uncovered
  7. Italy Made Easy
  8. Mondly Italian
  9. Wyzant Tutors: Italian
  10. Mimic Method: Italian
  11. Rosetta Stone Italian
  12. Fluent Forever
  13. edX Italian
  14. Infinite Italian
  15. Ripeti Con Me
  16. HiNative
  17. Mosalingua Italian
  18. Babbel Italian
  19. Duolingo Italian
  20. Busuu Italian
  21. Decks
  22. Bravolol
  23. Language Transfer
  24. Italian By Nemo
  25. Foreign Service Institute (FSI)

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items listed below aren’t technically “courses” for Italian. But they’re important enough for Italian learners (in my opinion) to be listed in an article like this. There are also some affiliate links included in the list.

Now… on to the list. 🙂

 

The very best Italian courses (crème de la crème of Italian resources)

1. Rocket Italian

Cost: Starts from $99.95 (auto-applied discount)

Summary: Rocket Italian has been around for well over a decade, is highly popular (for good reason) and it’s always been one of the top recommendations on this blog. Of all the Italian course options here, Rocket Italian definitely suits the structured learner most as it’s designed to be followed in a linear progression.

But the good news is you’re not obligated to follow their path and you can skip lessons if you want to.

The audio lessons in Rocket Italian are delivered in both a podcast-style format that’s very easy to follow, and audio dialogues that give you the Italian dialogue you need and nothing more.

Rocket Italian’s course covers all language skills very well (listening, speaking, reading and writing), and their inbuilt voice recognition is one of the most accurate available (it uses Google’s Web Speech technology).

For structured learner types, it’s my preferred Italian course.

Read this extensive review of Rocket Italian.

What I like:

  • The most comprehensive Italian course of its kind currently available.
  • For learners wanting structured course learning (still optional), Rocket Italian has a very clear linear progression.
  • Course covers all 4 major skills evenly (listening, speaking, reading, writing).
  • Students are motivated to continue by the inbuilt leaderboard.

What I don’t like:

  • Would be even greater if Rocket Italian added a video element to its audio course content.

UNIQUE OFFER: If you sign up to the mailing list (use the ‘Join The Guild’ form below) and select Italian as your language option, you’ll receive an incredible offer for Rocket Italian that’s exclusive to email subscribers.


2. ItalianPod101

Cost: Starts as low as $4 a month.

Summary: ItalianPod101 is an app that uses its teachers to provide lessons to students. While ItalianPod101 claims to provide its teachers with a basic roadmap as to what sorts of lessons to teach students, many students complain that the lessons feel messy and unstructured.

One of the last things someone new to a language wants is to utilize a program that is difficult to follow. Learning a new language is hard enough, and users want programs that simplify the process rather than complicate it.

The lessons are grouped thematically, which may appeal to some users. Those looking for a straightforward grammatical progression in their lessons would likely do better to look elsewhere.

What I like:

  • Create your own intuitive path through the materials provided.

What I don’t like:

  • Choosing your own path as the student might not be the best way to truly learn a language.
  • Pricing


3. Glossika Italian

Cost: $30 a month.

Summary: Gossika is an innovative language learning sensation. There is a reason this program is so popular with those looking for the best online Italian course.

Glossika takes the best of many programs mentioned here and combines them. Practice speaking with reception, learn syntax, and more, all from native Italian speakers.

Rather than learning Italian through the lens of a more sanitized online speaker, Glossika utilizes genuine speakers for its carefully crafted materials, covering grammar, vocabulary, and more.

What I like:

  • These lessons have everything. They are well-structured and utilize real Italian speakers.

What I don’t like:

  • Some new speakers may find certain Italian dialects difficult to understand at the beginning of their language journey.


4. Pimsleur Italian

Cost:$14.95 a month subscription (or $119.95 per level)

Summary: Those looking to buy the program outright may be in for a shock – the website sells the total Italian set, that’s 5 levels, on CD for $1,190, while individual CDs go for around $345. While the Pimsleur method may be effective, it loses clout on this list due to what is inaccessible pricing for many.

Pimsleur separates itself from other language learning sites in that it is selling a method, not just language learning lessons. The Pimsleur lesson relies heavily on recall and demands learners to prove they’ve retained information over and over again.

Pimsleur is an audio-based program, meaning users have no visual component. If your primary goal is to learn and practice speaking Italian, Pimsleur might work well for you.

What I like:

  • Active learning is proven to make a huge difference in the learning experience. This method focuses on forcing participation, to the user’s benefit.

What I don’t like:

  • No visual component means it’s ill-suited to visual learners and those looking to practice writing in Italian.
  • Pimsleur is costlier than many other options we’ve mentioned, and users should be certain Pimsleur is the method for them before committing themselves.


5. italki

Cost: Varies widely. Can go as low as $4 an hour.

Summary: Similar to Wyzant, Italki connects interested learners will course facilitators. As with similar services, neither provide curriculum or content to instructors.

What Italki has going for it is its extremely-well vetted instructors. Italki has a large reputation online as being as good of a service as a structured learning program, and for good reason.

Teachers succeed on Italki through client feedback, meaning subpar teachers simply will not cut it on the platform.

What I like:

  • Facilitates great connections with expert Italian teachers.

What I don’t like:

  • No set curriculum means you could be paired with an inexperienced new teacher not yet weeded out by Italki’s review system.

UNIQUE OFFER: If you sign up to italki using this link and take a lesson, you’ll get a bonus Italian lesson for free.


6. Italian Uncovered

Cost: One-time purchase of $297.

Summary: Italian Uncovered is a course more fluent Italian speakers will likely benefit from the most. Rather than provide modules or lessons, this course gives users long blocks of story-based texts to learn from.

If you’ve got a higher-level grasp of Italian and want to test your reading skills using some interesting material, you’ll definitely enjoy what Italian Uncovered has to offer you.

However, Italian Uncovered might be a stretch for brand new learners.

What I like:

  • Interesting, story-based idea for higher-level speakers of Italian.

What I don’t like:

  • Potentially difficult for new speakers.


7. Italy Made Easy

Cost: Each level of the course is priced from $197 to $248, depending on whether or not learners are willing to spend extra for the VIP lessons. Payment plans begin at $50/month.

Italy Made Easy also provides an “Ask Manu Italiano” series for free on YouTube.

Summary: Italy Made Easy is the brainchild of guru Manu. Manu produces lessons for the website catering to all levels of Italian learners, from beginner to expert. The lessons provided by Italy Made Easy are phenomenal, and their high quality cannot be disputed.

The modules provided by Italy Made Easy include quizzes and other assignments meant to check for understanding.

This means you won’t feel lost when navigating through the wide catalogue of videos provided through the site.

What I like:

  • Manu is the sole face and voice of the website, meaning you’ll likely feel as though you are experiencing a series of one-on-one lessons.
  • The lessons are really good quality, and there is a large catalogue to choose from.

What I don’t like:

  • If you’re learning style doesn’t mesh with what Manu does, you’ll have no other options with Italy Made Easy.
  • Italy Made Easy is one of the pricier options available to learners. While the lessons are informative, you may easily find a less expensive option that works just as well for you.


8. Mondly Italian

Cost: Starts at $9.99/month.

Summary: Mondly takes a different approach than module-based learning systems. Rather, this service offers learners the opportunity to learn Italian by playing games.

Using cutting edge technology, users can choose between VR, Virtual Reality, and AR, Augmented Reality, options in order to fully immerse themselves in a world learning Italian.

Users are encouraged to participate in daily lessons in order to accumulate the knowledge necessary for the weekly test. Because users who miss a day are not able to participate in the weekly assessment, Mondly capitalizes on the science behind practices that make apps addictive for users.

What I like:

  • Immersive and feels much different than other, typical language learning programs.

What I don’t like:

  • Some may find the VR and AR settings touted by Mondly to be offputting.


9. Wyzant Tutors

Cost: Wyzant Italian tutors go as low as $16 an hour, making the price you pay entirely dependent on the hours you’re looking to commit to learning Italian. Potentially higher priced than italki but may be easier to find a good teacher.

Summary: Unlike many options on this list (except for italki), hiring a personal tutor is an entirely different experience to using an online Italian course.

Your experience is going to vary greatly from tutor to tutor, but many offer one-on-one web conferences in order to provide learners with a uniquely tailored, personalized course experience.

What I like:

  • Get a unique experience. Most Wyzant tutors love input from students regarding the topics they’d like to cover.
  • Take advantage of an expert’s knowledge to craft a personalized curriculum.

What I don’t like:

  • You never know if a tutor’s style will suit you until you try out a class with them.
  • Higher priced than italki.
  • Instead of using a set curriculum, you’ll have to rely on the tutor’s expertise and assume they know what they are teaching you is correct.


10. The Mimic Method

Cost: The Mimic Method costs $197 and provides users with lifelong access to their materials.

Summary: As the name would suggest, the Mimic Method Italian course focuses on having students listen to Italian speakers and obtaining a feel for the language firsthand. It’s very much an audio course for Italian.

The sounds Italian uses are unique, and learners may not be familiar with all of them. The Mimic Method is a great opportunity to focus on pronunciation alone treating the language as if it were ‘music’.

The Mimic Method provides a supplementary Q&A video for lessons in an attempt to cover any further questions users may have regarding the material presented.

What I like:

  • This method is very unique and gets away from ineffective, conventional study. Students learn Italian by speaking, similar to full immersion.

What I don’t like:

  • Some people may find the unorthodox approach difficult to understand and follow.


 

Other excellent Italian courses

At the top, I’ve mentioned my personal favorites for learning Italian but there are plenty of other quality online course options for Italian.

Read on for more.

11. Rosetta Stone

Cost: Starts at $6.49 a month.

Summary: Rosetta Stone is one of the biggest names in the language learning business. Its longevity and brand recognition make it one of the go-tos for those looking to learn a foreign language.

However, Rosetta Stone crafts the modules for each language learning course very differently. One’s experience learning another language with their software, say, French, does not equate to their experience learning Italian.

Rosetta Stone is another program that is probably best suited to beginners. However, one’s experience with Rosetta Stone Italian often feels similar to that of being in an-ill designed public school language class. You may find yourself learning vocabulary and speaking patterns that you may never use in real conversation.

What I like:

  • Accessible and easy to use.

What I don’t like:

  • Impractical for learning useful, conversational Italian.


12. Fluent Forever

Cost: Goes for $9.99/month.

Summary: Fluent Forever is a well-marketed app that claims to sync up with the way the mind processes language perfectly. Taking an purported scientific approach to language learning, Fluent Forever claims to be based on neuroscience.

Those skeptical of the methods of other language learning programs may find comfort in the research that went into the development of Fluent Forever.

The app offers pronunciation correction, vocabulary, and grammar lessons directed toward rooting themselves into your long-term memory.

What I like:

What I don’t like:

  • Because the app is designed to stick in your long-term memory, some may find the process painstakingly slow.
  • Yet another flashcard app with spaced repetition (not innovative).
  • Some of the tips offered by the Fluent Forever method are incredibly cliche.


13. edX online Italian course

Cost: The 12-week class is free itself, while the certificate of completion will cost you $49.

Summary: edX functions like a classroom, offering courses covering pronunciation, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary. edX is best suited to those looking for a traditional language learning experience that mimics a condense college course. If this structure is what you are looking for, this is the best online Italian course for you.

Similar to a college course, edX offers to connect students to one another utilizing a discussion board. If you’re a fan of online courses that function like college classes, edX comes about as close to mimicking them as possible without being an actual university course.

What I like:

  • edX offers a conventional online classroom feel.

What I don’t like:

  • While self-paced, enrolment is strict and classes are offered on a set basis. Missing the enrolment window means waiting for the next round of classes, just as with college courses.


14. Infinite Italian

Cost: The app itself is free and runs ads. Additional purchases within the app run for $6.99 per item.

Summary: Another app that gamifies the Italian learning process, Infinite Italian is one of the better choices out there. The app is great for visual learners, and users will only see and hear Italian when interacting with the app.

Rather than see the Italian word for cat, kat, paired with the word in English, learners will see a picture of a cat and the word “kat”, and nothing more.

Mimicking the way we learn a language as children, Infinite Italian is a great opportunity for students to play and learn in a relaxing way.

What I like:

  • Pleasing interface and graphics mimic those of well-designed gaming apps.

What I don’t like:

  • No assessments or flashcards, so this is not a comprehensive online Italian course.


15. Ripeti Con Me

Cost: 15 lessons of Ripeti Con Me cost about $16 USD.

Summary: This app focuses on teaching Italian for Italian learners. Creators of the program argue that listening to native Italian speakers is not good enough – not everyone who speaks a language can teach it.

The app still aims to provide users with immersion, meaning that outside of direct translations of the sentences provided to users, there are no English instructions. Users will have to immerse themselves in Italian regularly in order to use the app and use repetition strategies that other apps tout as necessary.

See this detailed and extensive Ripeti Con Me review and interview.

What I like:

  • Total immersion and repetition.

What I don’t like:

  • The program’s creator is not shy about Ripeti Con Me building off of the template set forth by another popular program for learning Italian, Glossika.


16. HiNative

Cost: Pricing varies greatly depending on the nature of your request but starts at around 50 cents USD.

Summary: HiNative is an amazing tool for those learning another language to add to their toolbox of language learning apps.

The premise of the app is simple. Have a question about a word or convention in Italian? Boot up the app and ask a native. The makers of the app claim you’ll receive an answer to your question from a native speaker in a matter of minutes!

HiNative offers learners a functionality most apps and courses cannot. There is no replacement for asking a native speaker.

The app also provides users with the chance to upload themselves speaking Italian and have a speaker evaluate their pronunciation.

What I like:

  • Very personalized and innovative.

What I don’t like:

  • Not a comprehensive online Italian course.


17. Mosalingua Italian

Cost: The pricing for the Mosalingua Italian course is superb. Purchase the app for a one-time payment of $4.99 and own it.

Summary: Mosalingua is a great app for any level of Italian learners, from beginner to advanced. This app ensures users are repeatedly exposed to content, which has been proven to be the best way to interact with and learn a language.

The app provides specialized topics, making it suitable for students looking for vocabulary related to many different subjects. Whether you’re looking to supplement school materials or preparing for a trip to Italy, Mosalingua will likely have the set of vocabulary you are looking for.

What I like:

  • This app is versatile, making it suitable for many different types of learners and a candidate for the best online Italian course.

What I don’t like:

  • Functions slightly like a flashcard app.


Italian courses that are popular but not what I’d personally recommend

There are some online Italian courses that just aren’t that great, in my opinion.

These are well-known Italian course products that are liked by some people but I’m just not a big fan myself.

I’ve listed them here.

18. Babbel Italian

Cost: Babbel is well-priced for the services offered, with current subscriptions priced at $12.95/month.

Summary: Babbel is a great program for those just beginning to learn Italian. This is a web/app-based program. Starting with basic grammar and vocabulary, if you are approaching the language without any prior base of knowledge, this is likely a great program option for you.

Like any good language learning program, Babbel checks for your understanding throughout the modules and ensures the reinforcement of key concepts.

There are a plethora of lessons available to help learners really dig deeply into individual grammar and tense concepts. Users will likely obtain a great foundation of the language through their usage of Babbel.

Read this brutal review of Babbel.

What I like:

  • Easy to use interface makes this a contender for the best online Italian course.
  • Great for those with basic or early intermediate knowledge of Italian.

What I don’t like:

  • Not meant for those with a more advanced understanding of the language.
  • Users will likely outgrow the program easily after accomplishing a basic understanding of the language.


19. Duolingo Italian

Cost: Free (or $9.99/month for Premium).

Summary: Students are often divided when it comes to this big name in language learning. When it comes down to it, the app is great for providing a base for those completely unfamiliar with Italian.

To learn new vocabulary, Duolingo is really not bad at all. However, users will often argue that Duolingo promotes fluency. Whether one can truly become fluent from Duolingo’s lessons is dubious.

However, what Duolingo does accomplish, it accomplishes well. Students will likely have a relaxed learning experience as a supplement to another more intensive online Italian course.

See this great review of Duolingo.

What I like:

  • Duolingo is a big name in the industry for a reason. It is accessible and enjoyable to use.

What I don’t like:

  • Does not accomplish what it advertises, which is advanced fluency and language skills.


20. Busuu Italian

Cost: Starts at $5.83 a month.

Summary: Busuu offers both free and paid options. Free users will have access to the app’s exercises and quizzes, will paying users will have access to full lesson plans including the grammar points that allow one to truly learn the language.

Busuu doesn’t really offer much by way of originality. Neither does it provide any standout qualities. It is likely users will be able to utilize Busuu to complement any preexisting knowledge of Italian they have, but in terms of making Busuu your exclusive avenue to learn Italian, we’d not recommend it.

What I like:

  • Simple, easy to use interface.
  • Some free content.

What I don’t like:

  • Nothing special to draw users in.
  • No interaction or reinforced learning to give it an edge over its competition.


21. Decks

Cost: Perhaps the best thing about Decks is that it is an entirely free app, making it a great addition to the Italian learner’s repertoire.

Summary: This app does exactly what it sounds like it does – helps you to memorize vocabulary. It is essentially a flashcard app.

If you’re having trouble remembering certain words or simply want some ready-made flashcards to help you to facilitate your language learning process, Memrise Decks is a great choice.

In terms of looking for a singular solution, Memrise will not and cannot help you to comprehensively learn Italian.

What I like:

  • Easily to use for memorizing vocabulary.

What I don’t like:

  • No grammar or supplementary materials.


22. Bravolol

Cost: The app is free in Apple and Google Play stores and offers in-app purchases.

Summary: Bravolol is an app designed to help travelers quickly hear and utilize common Italian phrases. The app gives users phrases from the beak of a parrot, quite literally requesting users parrot their provided pronunciation.

This app will likely not help users to truly learn Italian. However, if you find yourself traveling and in a bit of a jam, Bravolol is a great resource.

It can be difficult to quickly find the phrase you need and immediately hear the correct pronunciation, so utilize Bravolol as that tool for your travels.

What I like:

  • The interface of this app is simple and direct and works offline.

What I don’t like:

  • Not useful for authentically using the language, but great in a pinch.


23. Language Transfer

Cost: Free.

Summary: Language Transfer offers free audio courses and functions as a good introduction to various key grammar points and language conventions.

We’d recommend Language Transfer for beginners without much time to devote to an interactive program or simply looking for a free introduction to the world of audio language learning.

What I like:

  • These lessons are short and are best suited for those who want to get to the meat and potatoes of language learning without any extra fuss.

What I don’t like:

  • No bells and whistles means no extra materials. Users get audio lessons presented to them and that’s about it.


24. Italian by Nemo

Cost: Find Italian by Nemo free with in-app purchases on your app store of choice.

Summary: This app serves as a hands-free method to practice speaking Italian. Go about your day and squeeze in a bit of extra Italian practice on the go.

The app includes no lessons but does offer users quizzes in order to track their progress.

Users would do best to use Italian by Nemo as a pronunciation check-in between getting groceries at the store or before putting your skills to the test.

What I like:

  • Hands-free and easy to use.

What I don’t like:

  • No foundation for truly learning Italian.


25. FSI Italian

Cost: Free.

Summary: FSI (Foreign Service Institute) is a government entity that trains diplomats and government officials in foreign languages including Italian. The full course and audio are available online to download.

The problem with the FSI material is that it’s very very old.

So although you can download the comprehensive, detailed Italian course of FSI for free with audio, be aware that the material is literally photocopied booklets that were typed up on typewriters making it almost illegible.

It’s good stuff but so dated that most people won’t find it useful.

What I like:

  • Free.
  • Comprehensive since it’s a diplomat program.

What I don’t like:

  • Extremely old and dated material.

Summary: Best online Italian courses

This article pretty much covers every online Italian course option currently available (if not, let me know below!).

No matter which Italian course you go for, I highly recommend daily Italian practice with native speakers – ideally in person.

But if you have no opportunities to speak to native speakers near you, then italki is an incredible platform to find really affordable practice partners and tutors.

Overall, your success is determined by your own commitment.

Even if you had every course on this list, you could still fail at Italian without high motivation and consistency.

Likewise, even a mediocre Italian course can be powerful in the hands of someone with the right attitude and learning style.

If you’re looking for tips on how to learn Italian and overcoming various language learning struggles, make sure to subscribe below by ‘Joining the Guild’.

Good luck! 🙂


Know of an online Italian course that I didn’t mention?

Share it below in the comment section.

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