Two recurrent issues plague the majority of language learners:
- Listening comprehension is hard
- Our lifestyle presents few natural opportunities to use Italian
Podcasts are the perfect remedy. You can listen to them anywhere, anytime, and while doing anything. They turn washing the dishes into a learning opportunity. If you pick up after yourself and commute to work, you can learn Italian… without changing anything about your day.
How to learn Italian with podcasts
- Follow your interests — you’ll listen more if you’re having fun, and spending more time listening is a surefire way to progress faster
- Find a desirable level of difficulty — you don’t have to understand everything, but as per rule #1, you should understand enough to enjoy yourself. If a cool-looking podcast is too hard, put it on the shelf and listen to a few easier podcasts first. You’ll be able to enjoy that difficult podcast later on, and having it on your list will give you something to strive for.
- Listen actively — when you’re listening, you should be listening. If you’re multitasking, multitask with something that lets you direct most of your attention toward listening. There might be some benefit to passive listening over the long term, but you’ll see much more significant gains now if you pay attention to your podcast.
- Seek out transcripts — many podcasts come with transcripts. To get the most out of your learning, first listen, then go back and check the podcast to make note of words you missed or sentences you didn’t understand. The more holes you fill in, the firmer the Italian ground under you will become.
- Talk about them! — each episode presents you with a potential conversation topic for a tutor or penpal. Making a point to discuss the podcast (in Italian!) will help you commit the new vocabulary words it contained to memory, and it also gives you a chance to get explanations of sentences you didn’t understand.
Seven Italian podcasts all Italian learners should know
In this podcast selection, we’ve prepared some Italian shows for everyone. We’ll start with a few easier podcasts, then move onto some stuff for more advanced learners.
A valuable resource for Italian learners, the Podcast Italiano website offers a dedicated learning podcast along plus an enticing bonus guest interview series. Hosted by Davide, the show delves into diverse topics, offering insightful perspectives on Italian society, culture, and history to improve your comprehension.
The Podcast Italiano has separate series aimed at beginners, intermediate and advanced learners. It doesn’t update regularly anymore but has a vast archive of content you can dive into.
Ila Zed’s Podcast Italiano
Meet Ilaria: an accomplished Italian language teacher and passionate podcaster. She offers a range of podcasts that invite you to fully immerse yourself in the Italian language, regardless of your proficiency level. We recommend starting with her “Italian Language” podcast. It offers a lot of tips and tricks about the language and is best suited for intermediate learners (the content is in Italian without translation).
You’ll also find grammar tips for advanced students, as well as hints of Italian culture and traditions. Intermediate and above students can also benefit from “Speak Italian” with Ilazed, a podcast which helps you to practice everyday vocabulary and speaking patterns — even if you don't have anybody to practice with.
Breaking Italy - Grandi Linee
Produced by Breaking Italy, Grandi Linee is a podcast about the latest news. A team of skilled hosts guides you through the most recent events and hot topics that capture the attention of the Italian public. Intermediate and advanced learners who want to understand more about Italy’s current affairs and learn more advanced vocabulary would benefit from this podcast the most. Its 25-minute long episodes fit perfectly into the average daily commute so you can learn on the go.
audiolibri Rai Play Sound
RaiPlay sound is an incredible resource for Italian learners. It has a wide range of audio shows for almost every topic imaginable. Browse shows spanning ecology, art, history, documentaries, sports, and so much more — you’ll definitely find something that will interest you.
We also recommend checking out the audiolibri project, which has a vast variety of books professionally narrated in Italian. This treasure trove includes classics from both Italian and world literature, making it an exquisite haven for literary enthusiasts.
For all the true-crime fans out there — why not turn your guilty pleasure into a language-learning opportunity? Let's face it, you’re going to listen to it anyway, so you might as well seize the opportunity to acquire a few new phrases on the side. With Francesco Migliaccio as your guide, you'll embark on a journey through dimly lit streets, shadowy backyards, and hidden basements, all while peering behind the curtain of intrigue. Each episode unfurls a tale woven from the threads of Italian and global criminal history.
An amazing and widely recognized weekly podcast for science enthusiasts everywhere. This podcast is aimed at native speakers, so it’s best fit for advanced learners who are ready to hear specific science-related vocabulary. It’s also very long long, each episode immersing into a topic for an hour or more. This podcast covers not only obvious topics such as science and technology but also entertainment, video games, cinema, music and beyond. This podcast has been out there since 2011, so we’re sure everybody can find something interesting for their feed.
A podcast with inspiring storytelling dedicated to all women who went against the tide and etched their legacies into history. Produced by Michela Murgia and Chiara Tagliaferri, this podcast invites you to explore fascinating and at times tragic life stories of women from a variety of places and backgrounds. With episodes featuring figures like Tonya Harding, Marina Abramović, Madonna, and Zaha Hadid, among others, you'll gain a compelling insight into the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated world and how these women triumphed in spite of those challenges.
A special place in this podcast is taken by Italian women. You’ll gain an understanding of culture and society by learning about Catherine of Siena, Moira Orfei, Francesca Sanna Sulis, Moana Pozzi and many others. The recent season is centered around motherhood and different ways of experiencing it.