The 9 Best Books to Learn Italian Fluently

Kelsey Wetherbee January 11, 2023

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If you want to speak italiano, there are many resources available to help you. But how do you know which one is best? Studying Italian with a book is a proven way to learn the language. This article is a guide to the best Italian books available. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced learner, there’s a book on this list that will help you learn Italian effectively.

Best Books to Learn Italian

Italian is one of the most studied second languages, and for good reason. Italy is a cultural hub and learning the language can be beneficial if you like art, history, cinema, fashion, architecture, and more. Italy is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and learning some of the language will make your next trip to Florence or Milan more rewarding.

How Long Will It Take You To Learn Italian?​

What is your current level?

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Beginner
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What level do you want to reach?

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How many hours will you study each day?

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There also seems to be a romance around learning Italian, and not just because it’s a Romance language. Does Romeo and Juliet ring a bell? Ok, so the ending is tragic, but your experience learning Italian doesn’t have to be! In addition to the smooth sounds of the language, the hand gestures and facial expressions will make anyone fall in love with learning this beautiful language.

What Are The Best Books To Learn Italian?

To find the best books to learn Italian, we put together a list of some of our favorites along with popular choices for Italian learners. Then, we examined the books to see the key features of each one and who could benefit from reading them. Finally, we compiled the final list to provide options for every type of learner.

Here is the list of the best books to learn Italian. Scroll down to read more about each one.

Best Overall Italian BookComplete Italian All-in-One
Best for BeginnersItalian: A Self-Teaching Guide
Best for Self-StudyComplete Italian Step-by-Step
Most Comprehensive BookItalian All-in-One For Dummies
Best for Italian GrammarItalian Grammar for Beginners
Best for TravelEasy Italian Phrase Book
Best for Reading in ItalianShort Stories in Italian for Beginners
Best for Verb ConjugationsBarron’s 501 Italian Verbs
Best for Speaking ItalianConversational Italian Dialogues

Complete Italian All-in-One

Best Overall Italian Book

Complete Italian All-in-One is the best overall book to learn Italian because it combines 5 different workbooks in this extensive volume. You practice all skills, such as grammar, vocabulary, and conversation. There are concise explanations and practice exercises with an answer key in the back of the book.

The book also includes access to a mobile app with flashcards and audio conversations recordings for additional practice. One reviewer said that the book had lots of opportunity to practice and repeat a skill until you get it. You can see what other Italian learners thought of the book here.

Key Features

  • 5 workbooks in one
  • Hundreds of practice activities
  • App with flashcards and audio

Italian: A Self-Teaching Guide

Best for Beginners

Italian: A Self-Teaching Guide is a good way for beginners to start learning the language and for previous learners to use it as a refresher. The book focuses on everyday situations and teaches the basic grammar and vocabulary needed to navigate them. There are mini dialogues, conversations, practice exercises, and more.

The vocabulary lists and included cultural notes help you learn about the country of Italy. Reviewers recommend using this book alongside another resource, such as a language app, to practice pronunciation and listening. See what other reviewers had to say here.

Key Features

  • Focus on everyday communication
  • Dialogues and conversations
  • Cultural notes about Italy

Complete Italian Step-by-Step

Best for Self-Study

Complete Italian Step-by-Step combines the beginner and advanced books of the Step-by-Step series so it’s appropriate for all levels. They use a building block approach to teach Italian grammar and vocabulary so each chapter builds on the last one. The explanations are in English with many examples in Italian.

Each of the 30 chapters focuses on communication for everyday use. You’ll learn a grammar topic, specific vocabulary, and practice reading comprehension. Reviewers of the book liked the practice exercises with answers in the back. You can read what other people liked about the book here.

Key Features

  • Building-block approach to learning
  • 30 chapters
  • Practice exercises to measure progress

Italian All-in-One For Dummies

Most Comprehensive Book

Italian All-in-One for Dummies is the most comprehensive book because it includes six different books from the Italian for Dummies series. At nearly 700 pages, you’re sure to have something new to learn! The book is divided into sections that extensively cover grammar, vocabulary, verb tenses, and more.

In addition, the book also includes a mini Italian-English dictionary, useful phrases and expressions, as well as verb tables that show you how to correctly conjugate verbs. Reviewers liked the layout of the book and the thoroughness of the grammar explanations. See if Italian All-in-One for Dummies is right for you here.

Key Features

  • 6 books in 1
  • Dictionary, phrasebook, verb tables, and more
  • Downloadable audio to hear spoken Italian

Italian Grammar for Beginners

Best for Italian Grammar

Italian Grammar for Beginners is an excellent choice for language learners that like to know “why?”. In its 25 lessons, this book provides clear, yet concise, explanations for the most important Italian grammar topics. The idea is that you spend 30 minutes a day for 25 days to gain a basic level of Italian and create an effective study habit.

There is a workbook built into the book. After each lesson, there are tons of practice exercises so you can check your understanding. And the additional audio recordings from native speakers help you develop listening and pronunciation skills. You can read customer reviews and learn more about Italian Grammar for Beginners here.

Key Features

  • Clear grammar explanations
  • Embedded workbook for practice
  • Audio to practice pronunciation and listening

Easy Italian Phrase Book

Best for Travel

The Easy Italian Phrase Book has over 1,500 common phrases that can be used in everyday speech. The book is divided into useful topics like transportation, medicine, and ordering food. Each phrase has an English translation as well as the phonetic pronunciation so you know how to say the phrase correctly.

This book is helpful for learners with little previous experience with Italian. There’s a detailed pronunciation guide so you can learn how to say words correctly when speaking Italian. Many reviewers bought this book to help them communicate on their trip to Italy. You can read more about what they thought here.

Key Features

  • Learn 1,500+ phrases
  • Divided into useful topics
  • Pronunciation guide

Short Stories in Italian for Beginners

Best for Reading in Italian

Short Stories in Italian for Beginners has 8 stories to help introduce you to reading in Italian. The stories cover different genres and are entertaining to read. They focus on the most commonly used words and have natural-sounding dialogue so you can see how people really speak the language.

Each story has a word list, plot summary, and comprehension questions to check for understanding. People who bought the book thought the stories were interesting and introduced a good amount of new vocabulary words. You can read what other people thought of the book here.

Key Features

  • 8 different stories
  • Each story has a plot summary and comprehension questions
  • Italian-English glossary

Barron’s 501 Italian Verbs

Best for Verb Conjugations

Barron’s 501 Italian Verbs is a reference manual of how to conjugate verbs in Italian. The verbs are the most used and each one has a complete conjugation into all the tenses. Each verb has its English translation and explanations of how to conjugate it.

The book comes with a bunch of useful material in the appendix, including a list of irregular verbs, verbs used with prepositions, and a concise grammar review. This new edition also has access to online practice to test your knowledge and understanding. Reviewers thought this book was an “absolute necessity” and a handy reference. Learn more about Barron’s 501 Italian Verbs here.

Key Features

  • 501 verbs fully conjugated in all tenses
  • Concise grammar review
  • Online practice questions

Conversational Italian Dialogues

Best for Speaking Italian

Conversational Italian Dialogues has over 100 dialogues and short stories to help you speak Italian fast. They focus on common situations like renting a car, going to the doctor, and booking a hotel. Each story has the English translation after so you can check your understanding.

It’s recommended to practice the dialogues, either alone or with a friend or teacher. That way you can practice speaking and hearing Italian out loud. Reviewers liked the conversations and thought they covered interesting situations. See what you think about the book here.

Key Features

  • 100+ dialogues and short stories
  • English translations included
  • Tips and tricks for learning Italian

Why You Should Use Books To Learn Italian

Books are a traditional, but proven, way to study Italian. There are options for every type of learner and every level. If you’re just starting to learn Italian, a comprehensive textbook that works on all language skills will be the most beneficial. Once you’re more advanced, you can move on to books that were originally written in Italian or other authentic material like newspapers and blog posts.

Books are also an inexpensive and easy way to learn. They often cost less than a few months of a language app, and can be used anywhere. For some learners, putting pen to paper and using a physical book are much more effective than digital material and can help you remember more in a shorter time span.

How To Use Books To Learn Italian

Finding the right book for you is only step one on your language-learning journey. Next, it’s time to create a study routine that you’ll actually stick to. It’s better to study for a little bit every day or at least a few times a week to see improvement and remember what you learn.

While books are an excellent way to study Italian, they’re best used in addition to other language resources. For example, a book can give you detailed grammar explanations, but an Italian language app might be a more effective and entertaining way to learn vocabulary. Or taking an online Italian course is good if you prefer a more structured way to learn.

Best Books To Learn Italian- Final Thoughts

Hopefully you’ve found a book on this list that can help make studying Italian easy and enjoyable. When you find the right one, it will make it easier to stick with studying. The great part of Amazon is that you can read what other reviewers say about the book and check if the book comes with additional resources, such as a CD, online audio, or app so you can take full advantage of all the tools you’re given. With consistent study, you’ll be speaking Italian before you know it. Ciao for now!

Best Books To Learn Italian: FAQ

Can you learn Italian from a book?

Yes, you can learn Italian from reading a book, but what type of book you should use depends on your level. Beginners will benefit more from using a comprehensive textbook that practices all language skills like reading, writing, listening, and speaking. There are many quality options for beginners who want to self-study Italian, such as Complete Italian Step-by-Step. Once you reach an intermediate or advanced level, you can read authentic Italian literature.

What is a good book to learn Italian reading?

If you want to improve your Italian reading skills, you can try a short story book such as Short Stories in Italian for Beginners. This book has 8 short stories that use the most commonly used words and grammar structures. There are also word lists, plot summaries, and comprehension questions.

How can I teach myself Italian?

There are many ways to teach yourself Italian, but one of the most effective is to use a high-quality language book. A comprehensive textbook introduces important Italian grammar topics and vocabulary. Many include workbooks or practice questions to check your comprehension. You can also teach yourself Italian with a language app or take an online course.

What’s the best book to learn Italian?

The best all-around book to learn Italian is Complete Italian All-in-One. It combines 5 different workbooks in this extensive volume. You practice all skills, such as grammar, vocabulary, and conversation. There are concise explanations and practice exercises with an answer key in the back of the book. It can be used for self-study or with a tutor.

Kelsey Wetherbee

Kelsey is a language lover that wants to help others on their linguistic journeys. As a former ESL teacher and foreign language learner herself, she hopes her experiences can benefit others and help them learn more effectively. She loves to travel and enjoys meeting people from all over the world. Connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn.

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