Life can be crazy. When you’re trying to learn Italian and make time for work, friends, family, fitness, food, and everything else on your plate, it often feels like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.
Sometimes we let our greatest ambitions – like learning a new language – fall to the wayside because it feels like we just don’t have the time.
What if I told you could take your Italian to the next level while:
- you cook dinner
- or while you get your squats in at the gym
- or even in the car on the way to your kids’ football game?
Well you can.
You guessed it! Italian podcasts.
One of the fastest (and most fun) ways to improve your listening skills in any language is by delving into the fascinating world of podcasts!
Podcasts are an amazing tool because they allow you to improve your Italian on the go. With your phone in your pocket and your headphones on your ears, the world is your classroom.
In this post, I’ll talk about the reasons podcasts are such a great resource for learning Italian. Then, I’ll introduce you to eight awesome podcasts for beginner and intermediate learners.
No matter where your interests lie, you’ll likely be able to find a compelling Italian podcast that will keep you entertained while you learn.
By the way, my top recommendation for improving your Italian listening skills is Conversations. It's an exciting story based course that helps you understand real Italian and transform your listening skills in 90 days or less.
Headphones, smartphone and podcast app of choice at the ready! Let's dive in…
How Can Listening To Podcasts Improve My Italian?
You’ve probably heard before that the best way to learn a language is through immersion. That’s very true.
But we aren’t all lucky enough to be able to drop everything and move to Italy when we decide we want to learn Italian.
Listening to podcasts is a much more convenient form of immersion. When you crank up the volume on a podcast, it’s like transporting your car or your gym or your kitchen to Italy for a little while.
Listening to native Italian speakers speak Italian is an essential part of developing fluency. You'll find that the more you listen, the more you understand.
An added bonus is that if you listen to a podcast about a subject that interests you (and there are podcasts about every topic under the sun, from sports to fashion), you’ll be more likely to learn vocabulary related to that subject.
This is an awesome benefit because of course we all want to be able to speak fluidly about the things we’re interested in!
Podcasts are also really fun! Listening to them is a way to study, but it doesn’t feel like a chore.
Three Reasons You Should Listen To Podcasts In Italian
So I’ve covered the fact that listening to podcasts in Italian is convenient. And we’ve talked about how it’s fun and entertaining, too. Why else might it be a good habit to get into? There are SO MANY reasons, but here are the three biggest ones:
#1. There’s A Podcast Out There For You No Matter Your Level In Italian
Whether you’re an advanced student who's been studying Italian for years. Or a newbie who just learned how to pronounce “ciao” last week, there’s a podcast out there that’s suitable for you!
With a little research, you’ll be able to find a podcast (or maybe a few!) that challenges you just the right amount to hold your attention while also pushing you into improvement.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate-level learner, you’re in luck because I’ve compiled a list of my favourite podcasts for those levels at the end of this post!
#2. Podcasts Challenge You In The Best Way
When it comes to learning a language, studying something that’s too easy will make you bored. While studying something that’s too hard will overwhelm you. All the learning-magic happens when you find the sweet spot right in between.
Look for a podcast that isn’t too easy or too hard. The goal is to challenge yourself to eventually understand speakers who talk at a natural speed. This is definitely something that gets easier with time.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll need to start with a slower-paced podcast and work your way up to a higher speed. The more time you devote to listening to podcasts, the more comfortable you'll become with understand native speakers’ regular pace.
#3. You’ll Improve Your Italian Pronunciation
You won’t just improve your listening skills when you listen to podcasts in Italian. You’ll also improve your Italian pronunciation. Hearing how a real native Italian speaker pronounces words and phrases in context is absolutely priceless.
You’ll find yourself mimicking their intonation and sound when you use the same words in your own conversation. This kind of improvement happens with very little effort on your part. You brain and ears pretty much do the work for you!
9 Podcasts To Motivate And Inspire Beginner And Intermediate Italian Learners
Now, as promised, it’s time for my list of my eight favourite podcasts for beginner and intermediate Italian learners.
A couple of things before we dive in:
- These are not listed in any particular order. All of these podcasts are great, and choosing the right one to listen to is really more of a matter of personal taste than anything else!
- I’ve labelled the podcasts “beginner” or “intermediate.” Of course, these words mean different things to different people.
- In this case, the ones marked “beginner” are suitable if you’re just getting started with Italian. They use simple sentences and the hosts speak slowly.
- The “intermediate” podcasts involve more complex sentences and faster speaking. But they shouldn’t be so complex or fast that they’re overwhelming.
1 News In Slow Italian (Beginner)
News in Slow Italian is exactly what it sounds like. You can find out what’s going around the world at an easy-to-digest pace.
This is a pay-to-listen podcast. But it comes with transcripts which is extremely helpful when you’re just starting out or when there’s a word or phrase you just can’t make out.
The creators of News in Slow Italian have another even more simple beginner-level podcast called Get Up to Speed (G.U.T.S) for the newest of new Italian learners.
2 Apollo (Intermediate)
Apollo is a really cool podcast that’s actually all about… podcasts! In each episode, host Gabriele Ciufo interviews another Italian podcast host.
They talk about how they discovered podcasting and the inspiration behind their projects. The people all have fascinating stories, so it’s interesting on its own.
But it’s also a fun way to find out about other podcasts beyond this list that you might find interesting.
3 I Provinciali (Intermediate)
If you’re interested in learning about small towns throughout Italy, I Provinciali is the podcast for you!
Through stories, listener-contributions, and more, this podcast aims to get down to the individual flavours of each of Italy’s provinces.
It's chatty rather than scripted, so you’ll learn a lot of conversational phrases while dreaming of your next vacation.
4 Scientificast (Intermediate)
You might be able to guess from the name that Scientificast is a science podcast.
To give you an idea of the subjects discussed, topics in a recent episode ranged from research funding cuts to the 20th anniversary of the launch of the International Space Station.
5 CoffeeBreak Italian (Beginner)
This podcast switches back and forth between English and Italian. But since it’s designed for language-learners, it does so in a very beneficial and careful way.
Recent episodes introduced a “soap opera” where a story was acted out in chapters. Afterwards, the hosts use the story to introduce a grammar lesson. This podcast is produced by Radiolingua.
6 4 Verticale (Beginner – Intermediate)
4 verticale is a lighthearted, funny, entertaining variety-show of a podcast. You’ll get a little bit of Italian culture, a little bit of comedy, interviews, games, and more.
It’s made with language learners in mind. But it doesn’t do too much hand-holding, which is what makes it such a great option for both beginner and intermediate learners.
7 Com’è Quel Gioco? (Intermediate)
Com’è quell gioco? is a podcast about board games. Personable hosts Roberto and Claudio test out different tabletop games to find out:
- how they work
- how much fun they are
- and whether or not they are worth purchasing
This is entertaining listening even if board games aren’t your thing because the hosts are so charming.
8 Senza Rosetto
Senza Rosetto is an awesome podcast about feminism and everything related to it. Explore questions like “What does it mean to be a woman?” with humour and insight.
This podcast manages to be entertaining while also raising big, important questions. Best of all, it’s chock-full of useful vocabulary!
9 Italian Conversations (Intermediate)
This last one isn't exactly a podcast, but it will improve your listening skills if you're an intermediate learner. Italian Conversations is my dialogue-based audio course that tell an intriguing story in 20 parts.
You listen to Italian dialogues that come with transcripts to support your learning. Italian Conversations is tailor-made for intermediate learners. And it'll help you understand real spoken language and transform your listening skills in less than 90 days.
Find out more about Italian conversations here.
Better Italian Listening Through Podcasts
I hope you’ve found this list useful for finding the perfect Italian podcast to listen to. Remember, this is just a little taste of what’s out there.
With these suggestions though, you can start creating your own Italian immersion environment, whether it's in the car, at the gym or in your kitchen.
Thanks to this list, you're bound to find the right podcast for you. Whether you're a beginner, an intermediate learner, or even a bit more advanced, there's something here to suit your tastes.
Enjoy getting a taste of Italy in your ears as you improve your listening, your pronunciation and much much more thanks to these Italian podcasts.
Do you have any Italian podcasts you love listening to? And which ones from this list are you going to start listening to? As ever, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.