I’m Learning Italian – For Free

I’m planning to take a pilgrimage to Italy next year, so naturally I want to learn Italian now, and I’m doing it for free. I haven’t decided which Catholic tour company I’m going to travel with or which cities I’ll be visiting.

As a lover of languages, this gave me the motivation I was seeking to finally commit to learning Italian. As I’ve mentioned, I commute 3-4 hours per day, and I’ve been wanting to make productive use of that time.

Why Italy

For months, I had been thinking about going to Lourdes, France and was determined to get there in 2018. I had heard about how peaceful it was, and I wanted to grow even closer to Our Lady. But I wasn’t really open to going by myself. I thought I might enjoy the experience more with someone.

Honestly, I was concerned about going to such a contemplative place by myself! I do enjoy my alone time, but I can think and then overthink, so I really felt like going with a close girlfriend who I could “talk through” the experience with would be great!

But after I tried and failed to get friends to go with me, I warmed up to the idea of traveling by myself and spending more money on a full Catholic pilgrimage to visit more holy places. So I’m saving Lourdes for another time.

Italy seemed like the quintessential destination for a Catholic.

Plus, I’m a proud Italian who’s never been to Italy. I really admire my Poppononno (grandpa). His parents came to the US via Ellis Island, and when he was born, they wanted him to learn English. He told me he wishes he had learned Italian when he had the chance. So I know he’d be proud if at least one of his 13 grandchildren learned to speak Italian. I’m the oldest granddaughter, so why not me?

Free Fluency?

I always thought it would be cool to document my journey of learning a new language – and it would be even more fun to do it for free! I’m hoping it’ll inspire some of my readers who’ve been wanting to learn a new language.

These are the resources I already own or have access to that I’m using:

  • podcast app
  • headphones
  • CD player/reader (could be laptop or car)
  • library

Right now, I’m using the following free learning materials:

  • Coffee Break Italian podcast (20-30min episodes)
  • Pimsleur Quick & Easy Italian (8 30-min CD lessons)
  • DK 15 Minute Italian (12 weeks of 15 min per day)

Once I finish those, I plan to check out some more digital resources from my library, like the Living Language series. I’m on the waiting list for the Italian 1 & 2 audiobooks. I’m such a nerd!

I’m hoping to travel to Italy in late spring or early summer so that gives me about 5 months of study time to get to an intermediate-level. Then, when I’m in Italy, I want to practice it as much as I can to take it to the next level.

Making the Commitment

I’ve tried and failed many times to dedicate myself to learning a lot of different languages, including Spanish, Italian, and German. I studied French for about 7 years. In college, I was much closer to being fluent than I am now, but that background gives me an (admitted) advantage in learning another Romance language.

Having my sights set on Italy, I feel excited and determined to study everyday for 60-90 minutes, mainly during my commute. There is a church close by that celebrates Mass in Italian so I’m definitely going to go there at some point!

I know I could get by just fine with English in Italy, but I really want to feel immersed in the Church’s history there! Italin is the official language of Vatican City. How cool would it be to understand it?!


I officially started studying Wednesday, Nov 29. Since then, I’ve gotten through:

  • 11 Coffee Break Italian episodes (20-30 min each; starring arc episode 1)
  • 6 1/2 Pimsleur lessons
  • 2 days of DK Complete Italian

I’ll bring another update on my progress in about 4 weeks (with other blog posts on different topics in between).

Maybe I’ll even try to write a post in Italian!

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