The Best Apps for Learning Italian

The 5 Best Apps for Learning Italian

A video/podcast style course with a vast library of customizable lesson ‘pathways’ covering a range of trendy topics.

A comprehensive beginners Italian course based upon an innovative new teaching method known as ‘story learning’.

A sleek new app that teaches Italian through short video dialogues, clever memory techniques & gamified quizzes.

In this article we’ve handpicked our top five best apps for learning Italian, to help you progress towards Italian fluency. You may want to use a variety of these apps in parallel to get the best from each one and to work on each language skill at the same time, from listening to speaking, vocab to grammar – it’s entirely up to you.

Traditionally, learning a new language has always been a struggle to get the right resources, to find the right teachers, and to get in contact with native speakers to practice with. We relied far too often on repetitive grammar exercises and old-fashioned classroom drilling.

But the advent of the smartphone has now made language learning much easier and more fun! You can now practice with native speakers whenever you want, you can play addictive new games to memorize vocab, phrases & dialogues, and you can get instant access to a vast array of authentic content from the convenience of your own phone.

Whether you are learning Italian for the workplace or simply just for fun, you can download these apps directly on your smartphone, allowing you to pick up this beautiful romantic language completely at your own pace, wherever you are, using a teaching style that suits your own interests and specific learning style.

So without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Andiamo!

(Android, iPhone, iPad)
Monthly subscription starts from $8/month, 7 day free premium trial

Most Comprehensive

Taking first place on our list is ItalianPod101, an app that’s stood the test of time for being one of the most comprehensive, flexible and engaging language apps to help you learn Italian, completely on your own time. Their unique system of customizable ‘learning pathways’ allows you to focus solely on the topics and learning points that you wish to study most, thus tailoring the syllabus to your own specific learning needs.

ItalianPod101 Videos -- Pizza

They have a vast library of content, starting from a complete beginner level right through to advanced. Each lesson focuses on a specific topic or language point, with the content being delivered through a short and highly engaging video presentaions (or podcasts), followed by a line-by-line dialogue, vocab list, lesson notes and lesson quiz. ItalianPod101 excels in providing you with lots of bonus features too in their well established app; you’ll find flashcards, frequency word lists, vocab lists, grammar banks and more.

Personally, we think it’s well worth the investment and something we’ve personally got a lot of value from (plus, you can use our unique discount code to get an additional 30% off).

Click here to check out our full review of ItalianPod101.

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(Android, iPhone, iPad)
$297 up front or 3 x $99 monthly installments

The Most Effective Italian Course Out There

Ok, we cheated a little with this one – Italian Uncovered is not strictly an app but can still be accessed through the browser on your phone, or better yet, you can download all the audio files for you to listen to offline.

Italian Uncovered, in our opinion, is the best method we’ve ever come across for learning Italian in a really enjoyable and methodical way. It’s an all-encompassing language course that’s best suited for complete beginners, though all levels will find it useful. So how does it work? It consists of a series of 20 chapters all tied together through the story of L’uomo col cappello (The Man In The Hat). You are taught through immersion right off the bat with helpful video lessons that meticulously break down the essentials to help guide you on your path, presented by native tutor Martina.

ItalianUncoveredScreenshot - Best Food

The unique teaching method is the brainchild of polyglot and well-acclaimed author Olly Richards. Unlike most other courses, everything connects together into a really well written story, making the learning process both fun and effective, motivating you to continue and unwravel the meaning of the story. And with years of experience of Olly personally using this exact method to become fluent in over 7 languages, you can be sure it works.

Click here to read our full review of Italian Uncovered.

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(Android, iPhone, iPad)
$12.95/month, with increasing discounts for 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions

Most Convenient & Fun

Babbel is certainly not an app to be overlooked. It’s become a very attractive option for Italian language learers due to its bitesize (15 minutes, on average) lessons and handy dialogue-style teaching method. It’s very enjoyable to go through each lesson whenever you have a spare minute. Unlike Rosseta Stone, for example, Babbel has loads of short video clips, images and dialogues to really set the scene and make the language more memorable with context-based dialogues. Hints for the grammar and sentence structure further glues everything together.

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4/5
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(Android, iPhone, iPad)
Free, ad-free membership costs $6.99/month

Best App for Conversation Practice with Native Speakers

We all know deep down that the best way to learn Italian is to actually start interacting with Italian people as soon as possible. “But what if there’s a global pandemic and I can’t just catch the next flight to Rome?” I hear you say. Well, you’ll be glad to know that there’s an app (several actually) that’ll pair you up with real life Italians and get you speaking straight away.

Some, like HelloTalk and Tandem are language exchange apps and so are free – you pay only with your time in speaking an equal amount of English with your newfound language partner. Others, like italki, offer a more formal paid tutoring service.

Top-5-Apps-For-Learning-English-HelloTalk

Feeling shy? HelloTalk will find you partners based upon your interests and hobbies, and even provide prompts and conversation starters so you’ll always have something to talk about. Through HelloTalk you can have as much of an immersive cultural learning experience as possible without ever having to take a single step into Italy. The app uses text, audio messages and video calls, in addition to built in translation and error correction tools.

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(Android, iPhone, iPad)
$20/month or $240/year, 14 day free trial

Best Option for Building Vocabulary and Listening Practice

FluentU is an awesome little app to help supplement your listening skills and to bolster your range of vocabulary. It is essentially a cover software on top of a massive library of short youtube videos that allow you to pause the video and get an instant translation of the subtitles simply by hovering over a word with your mouse (or finger). The entire library is sorted by level, content type and theme or topic – a great way to immerse yourself in level-specific authentic content that you find interesting.

Top_5_Apps_For_Learning_Italian_FluentU

The content itself ranges from vlogs to music videos, all designed for an Italian audience, so you can be sure to get exposure to a wide range of different accents and applications. But the best part of FluentU is how you learn new vocab. You see, after every video there’s a gamified quiz to teach you the words you don’t know. The system uses spaced-repetition to understand what you do and don’t know in order to prompt you at the right time to revise the new words again and again.

Click here to read our full review of FluentU.

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Runners-up for Best App for Learning Italian:

Our list wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning these runners up that didn’t quite make it into our top five list.

(Android, iPhone, iPad)
Free, ad-free pro version costs $12.99/month

Best Budget Option

Duolingo is one of the most popular free language apps out there. It consists of a series of short, gamified quizzes to introduce you to a new language and test you on new phrases again and again. The syllabus follows a logical order, and you’ll take a placement test to determine how much you already know. As mentioned, it’s free, but is it any good?

In our opinion, it’s not a bad introductory app to teach you some new phrases but beyond that it’s better to go for a more comprehensive language course like Italian Uncovered or ItalianPod101.

Top_5_Apps_For_Learning_Italian_Duolingo

The reason being is that the app is not tailor made for the Italian language and often has mistakes. It can be great fun but it can be very slow to progress to higher levels. Furthermore, you won’t learn any new grammar and the phrases are based upon direct translations, which isn’t the most helpful.

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5/5
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(Android, iphone, ipad)
$19/month or $99.95 for lifetime access

Best Alternative to ItalianPod101 or Italian Uncovered

Perhaps the other apps just don’t take your fancy? Why not give Rocket Italian a try? It’s up there with ItalianPod101 and Italian Uncovered in terms of its comprehensiveness & level of content, but delivered in a different style. The course is broken down audio lessons that do well to explain the culture through dialogues. We love how you can effectively take part in the dialogues and the software will record your voice to playback and compare your voice against a native speaker.

Top-5-Apps-For-Learning-Russian-russian-rocket

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3/5
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(Android, iphone, ipad)
$119.95 per level, $550 for levels 1-5, 7 day free premium trial

Best App for Pronunciation and Becoming Conversational Fast

Pimsleur is one of the big names in the language learning world, alongside Rosetta Stone and perhaps Duolingo. The method is based upon Dr. Pimleur’s principles of memory and language learning, from his career-long research. It’s primarily an audio-based course which makes it useful for driving, at the gym, or when out and about. It’s main focus is on getting your pronunciation up to speed through a series of real-use dialogues.

Top-5-Apps-For-Learning-Russian-pimsleur2

Each lesson is around 30 minutes long and uses SRS to help you memorise an entire dialogue during this time. Many students can testify to the effectiveness of the method, with a massive boost in speaking confidence and the ability to converse with native Italians. However, do bear in mind that you won’t learn any reading or writing, and the grammar is only taught intuitively, so it may not suit everyone. But for getting up a conversational level in the shortest time possible, Pimsleur’s got your back.

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(Android, iphone, ipad)
$9.99/month for Premium, or $13.99/month for PremiumPlus

Best Option for Complete Beginners

Busuu is a great app that has a similar format to Babbel or Duolingo, however Busuu stands in it’s ability to connect you with native speakers, almost like HelloTalk does. As you progress through the lessons, you can submit speaking and writing exercises that’ll be corrected for you by native tutors on the platform – pretty neat!

Top_5_Apps_For_Learning_Italian_Busuu

Unlike many other language apps, Busuu focuses heavily on speaking with some pretty advanced speech recognition software. You can also choose to study a specific course with a fixed purpose in mind, perhaps for travelling or for ordering at a restaurant (similar to ItalianPod101). To get the most out of their lessons you’ll need to pay a subscription since the free version is unfortunately very limited in its scope.

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The Best Apps For Learning Italian: Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through our top list of Italian apps. With these recommendations you can’t really go wrong. You now have plenty of choices for improving every aspect of your Italian language skills – from listening to speaking, reading to writing. 

We first recommend that you work through one of the more structured language apps to begin with, like ItalianPod101 or Italian Uncovered, and only then can you start to supplement your learning with speaking practice (HelloTalk) and immersion into new material (FluentU).

All in all at the very least we hope this list has inspired you to know what’s out there to discover in terms of language apps. Each one has its own specific advantages and disadvantages – plus everyone learns differently anyway. So have a play around, try some out, and most of all have fun!

Buona fortuna!