If I know Italian language learners like I think I do, then I’m aware that they already have a lot of stuff for learning the language.
If you were to open their closet or tiptoe down to the boxes they have in their basement, I can guarantee that you would find audiobooks, flash cards, workbook exercises, textbooks, DVDs, and software suites all guaranteed to help them become fluent in one of the most beautiful languages in the world.
The goal here is not to gift them with more stuff that they will decide not to use, but to inspire them to keep learning, absorbing, and appreciating everything the Italian language and culture has to offer.
For the language learner with…
1) A round-trip ticket in hand for Italy
Like this timeless one from Etsy – Italian Travel Journal
Like this classy one from Modcloth – Travel Treasures Keepsake Box
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
Because loving yoga is universal
Try this one from Lululemon – The Un Mat
Travel phrase guide + workbook
Because practice makes progress
A love for the kitchen
Try this one from Etsy – Italian Spice Trio
Try this one from Etsy – Italy Cutting Board
Even if it hadn’t, I would still want it.
The company, LunaOlivo, also has lots of varieties of balsamic from all over Italy as well as truffle oil.
Try this one from Etsy – Mission Olive Oil
An obsession with literature
Tim Parks travels Italy by train and observes the Italian culture on his journey.
I know this book is bound to be insightful because of this line in the summary
“Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive: an obsession with speed but an acceptance of slower, older ways; a blind eye toward brutal architecture amid grand monuments; and an undying love of a good argument and the perfect cappuccino.”
If I noticed nothing else throughout my journey with Italy and learning Italian, it’s the dichotomies that exist and will always fascinate me.
La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language
Dianne Hales delivers Italy in a way that combines the language, the history, the art, and the culture. She weaves together a story that is intimate, yet informative, and I will never stop loving her for writing this book.
It opened my eyes to the depth that I had been missing about Italy while learning Italian, and I am forever grateful for that.
I like Beppe because he’s honest and funny. Really, I don’t ask for much more than that when it comes to books.
An Italian by birth, he shows his country in all its glory and gore.
While I love Italy, I am very aware that it has its problems, and I think it’s important for people who want to be a part of the country to cognizant of them.
In this book, he lays out the problems Italy has faced and is facing in a way that makes you feel compassion and amazement at the same time.
Beautiful Ruins: A Novel
It has Italy, romance, and scandal. What more do you need?
More romance + more scandal set in Tuscany. You’ll read this book in one sitting, promise.
A passion for interior design
These decorations will make any home feel more Italian.
Get it here: Italian Kitchen Poster
Get it here: Vespa Scooter Italian Poster
Get it here: Cucina Sign
Get it here: Italian Coffee Print Typography
Get it here: Paint Splashes Map of Italy
Get it here: Fiat 500 Italian Poster
Get it here: Vintage Poster
Get it here: Ciao Bella Poster
Get it here: Florence Art Print
Get it here: Florence Is Calling Poster
Get it here: Italy Gold Foil Map Print
Get it here: Mangia Decor Sign
Get it here: Florence Cutout
Get it here: Italy Typography Map
Get it here: Hand Cut Map of Rome
If you’re someone who wants to start learning Italian or you know that learning language stuff is the way to go with this person, here’s what I recommend:
People just starting out
People who have learned many languages RAVE about Assimil as if it were the holy grail of language learning textbooks.
I can’t profess loyalty to it because I haven’t personally gone through the textbook, but I trust the experience of those who have, which is why this learning aid has made the cut.
Apparently, it’s the most entertaining textbook you can get on the market and effective because it combines listening and reading skills.
Italian, Basic: Learn to Speak and Understand Italian with Pimsleur Language Programs
If you’re crunched for time but have a decent-sized commute, then Pimsleur may be a good fit for you to start learning the language.
While I haven’t used it personally with Italian, a lot of the readers on this site swear by it, and I trust them to tell me what’s working and what’s not working for them.
The downside of this course?
There is very little, if any, grammar explained, so you’ll need to pair it with something more detailed if you’re analytical.
I liked using Rocket Languages so much that I wrote a review on it here.
The short version? It has lots useful dialogue, lots of opportunities for review, and plenty of tools to help you get practice in listening, reading, speaking and writing.
Those who have been learning it for a while
This book has been on my wish list for months now, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it for myself this Christmas because I love any guide that professes to tweak what I already think to be true in Italian.
The areas of my Italian that still need work are always overwhelming, so having a guide that feels like a checklist relieves me.
This native Italian dictionary is the pinnacle of well-made Italian dictionaries.
The newest edition can be pretty pricey, but if you don’t mind getting an older version, you can save at least 50%.
If you know that the person learning Italian loves Italki, buying them classes as a gift is a genius move.
If you love using it yourself and need to be more consistent with your lessons, buying these credits will force you into using them.
Any to add? Drop ‘em in the comments below!