Learning Italian can be a bit tedious sometimes!
If you’re bored with verbs and vocabulary lists, why not try watching Italian TV shows?
There are some amazing series that can help you improve your Italian in a fun and relaxed way. In this episode, we, Katie and Matteo, have selected our top 5 Italian TV shows we can’t stop watching.
We’ll explain why we like them, whether they’re hard or easy, the kind of Italian they can teach you, and where you can watch them.
Let’s get started – cominciamo!
1. Il Processo (The Trial)
First on our list is a great Italian drama.
Katie started binge-watching this one, then Matteo joined in and got hooked, too!
While investigating the murder of a teenage girl, a prosecutor discovers she’s linked to the victim and becomes obsessed with finding answers.
We love this show because of its well-crafted characters, brilliant acting, and the intricate plot that keeps you guessing until the end.
With its hushed tones and legal jargon, this series is ideal for advanced learners who want to pick up useful expressions related to crime and punishment.
You can watch Il Processo on Netflix.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little simpler, try:
- La legge di Lidia Poët (The Law According to Lidia Poët), about Italy’s first female lawyer.
- Luna Park, which explores the intertwined past of two women, set in 1960s Rome.
For more Italian dramas, check on this post with The Best Italian TV shows on Netflix, Prime and Youtube. You’ll also find tips on how to use TV shows to improve your Italian, and what to do if you don’t understand.
Psst! You can watch the same clip dubbed in English, here: Boris in English
Next up, a commedia.
If you’re looking for some colloquial phrases to sound more natural when speaking (and laugh while you learn), you should watch Boris.
This satirical comedy follows the behind-the-scenes crew of an Italian TV show, highlighting their struggles and incompetence. We love this show because of its unique humor and its portrayal of the absurdity of Italian showbiz.
This one has lots of natural, everyday language and can be challenging at times, with regional accents and colloquial phrases. But it’s a great feeling to understand the jokes in Italian!
If you’re in Italy (or have a VPN), you can watch Boris on Disney+. At the time of writing, the first series is also available on Daily Motion with English subtitles.
Looking for a comedy with simpler Italian? Try Guida astrologica per cuori infranti (An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts).
For more Italian comedies, check out this post with The Best Italian TV shows on Netflix, Prime and Youtube.
3. Vendetta (Truth, Lies and the Mafia)
Time for a good documentario!
In this gripping true crime documentary, two well-respected members of Sicily’s anti-Mafia coalition are at odds with each other.
Investigative journalist Pino Maniaci, a celebrated figure known for hosting a show exposing the mafia, openly accuses Judge Silvana Saguto of corruption. However, things take a turn when claims suggest that Maniaci himself could be guilty of extorting local officials. With accusations flying back and forth, who is telling the truth?
This show is quite challenging to understand, but you’ll pick up lots of useful vocabulary related to crime and politics. And you’ll get an insider look at the mafia (which isn’t as glamorous as those Hollywood movies would have you believe!).
You can watch Vendetta on Netflix.
If you’re looking for a documentary with simpler, conversational Italian, try Una semplice domanda (one simple question).
For more Italian documentaries, check on this post with the The Best Italian TV shows on Netflix, Prime and Youtube.
4. Passaggio a Nord Ovest (North-West Passage)
Need something a bit more relaxing? You might enjoy this documentary series hosted by national treasure Alberto Angela, which explores historical and cultural points of interest throughout the world. It’s our favourite documentary to fall asleep to, in a good way!
With his extensive knowledge and exceptional storytelling skills, Angela guides viewers through different regions and historical periods, taking you on a journey through the landscape, architecture, cuisine, and traditions.
The Italian is pretty advanced, but most episodes are divided into short sections so you can watch them in bite-sized pieces. And a lot of the youtube clips have automated subtitles you can use to aid your comprehension.
5. MasterChef Italy (Reality TV)
No list of our favourite TV shows would be complete without one about cooking!
MasterChef Italia is a popular reality show that follows amateur chefs as they compete to become the next MasterChef.
As you know, Italians take their food very seriously, so the standards are high and you can learn a lot about Italian cooking just by watching it. You’ll get to know the judging panel, made up of famous Italian chefs who are experts in their field and have a deep knowledge of the country’s culinary heritage.
We love this show because of its fun challenges, mouth-watering dishes, and the competitive spirit of the contestants.
The main plot is simple to understand, so you can enjoy following along even if you don’t understand everything they’re saying. You’ll pick up useful culinary vocabulary, as well as some colloquial language used by the contestants.
If you’re in Italy, you can watch MasterChef Italia on NowTV. Anywhere else, you can head over to the MasterChef Italia Youtube channel, where you’ll find a lot of entertaining clips.
For more Italian reality TV shows, check on this post with the The Best Italian TV shows on Netflix, Prime and Youtube.
There you have it, our top 5 Italian serie TV (TV series) we can’t stop watching. While TV shows in Italian can be challenging, they’re a fun way to improve your listening skills and pick up new vocabulary. And don’t worry if you don’t understand much at first, it’s normale! It takes time and practice to develop your comprehension.
To get tips on how to use these TV shows to learn Italian, including what to do if you don’t understand, check out these posts:
Time to grab some popcorn, get comfy on your sofa and start watching!
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Vocabulary: 5 Italian TV shows we can’t stop watching
una serie = a series
un drama = a drama
un documentario = a documentary
una commedia = a comedy
la RAI = the Italian national broadcasting service
Quiz: 5 Italian TV shows we can’t stop watching
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Flashcards: 5 Italian TV shows we can’t stop watching
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Transcript: 5 Italian TV shows we can’t stop watching
Please note, this is not a word for word transcript.
K: Ciao a tutti e benvenuti! Hi everyone and welcome to “Learn Italian with Joy of Languages”. Not everyone knows this, but watching TV is one of our favourite ways to learn a foreign language.
M: It’s a lot more fun than memorising verbs. And it immerses you in conversations and culture in a way that other learning methods cannot.
K: Watching Italian TV shows is excellent listening practice. You can train yourself to understand native speakers, improve your pronunciation and pick up natural expressions.
M: Yes, I basically learned English by watching Netflix.
K: When I first met Matteo I was amazed, and continue to be amazed, by how vast his vocabulary is. The other day he used “salty” to describe someone getting annoyed or upset.
M: Yes, I love watching le serie TV, TV series. I pick up a lot of words from them! It’s a fun way to learn how native speakers talk.
K: So today we thought we’d share our 5 favourite Italian TV shows. Hopefully you’ll find something you like and be inspired to start watching.
M: Let’s get started, cominciamo! We’ll start with un drama.
K: A drama. Il Processo, or “The Trial” in English.
M: Il processo (x2)
K: I started binge watching this one, then Matteo joined in and got hooked, too!
K: A few of the TV shows we’re talking about today are hard to understand at first. That’s totally normal, don’t get discouraged. If you think about it, Italians spend hundreds of thousands of hours listening to their native language, so don’t compare yourself to them!
M: A couple of Italian dramas that might be easier for learners to follow are:
- La legge di Lidia Poët (x2).
- K: “The Law According to Lidia Poët”, about Italy’s first female lawyer
- M: Luna Park (x2)
- K: Set in 1960s Rome.
K: For more options, over on the blog you’ll find a guide with 43 Italian TV shows we think you might like. There’s also advice on how to select the right show for your level and use it to learn Italian, especially if you’re struggling to follow the dialogues. You can find more by clicking the link in the description or going to joyoflanguages.com/italian-tv-shows.
M: Next, our favourite commedia, comedy, Boris!
K: That’s B – O – R – I – S
K: For a comedy which is a bit simpler, with clearer Italian, you can try Guida astrologica per cuori infranti
M: Guida astrologica per cuori infranti.. That’s “An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts”, on Netflix.
M: Next, there’s un documentario, a documentary we have been addicted to for months… Passaggio a Nord Ovest!
M: Don’t worry if you don’t understand much at first, it takes time and practice to develop your comprehension skills.
K: So that’s 3 shows. The trial, which is called:
M: Il Processo
K: A comedy about a TV crew:
K: And a documentary with Alberto Angela, literally “North West Passage”
M: Passaggio a Nord Ovest.
K: A couple more shows we’ve been enjoying recently are Vendetta, an addictive documentary on Netflix, where there’s a big feud between a judge and an antimafia journalist.
M: And of course masterchef Italia. Because, you know… food.
K: You can find out more about those by following the link in the description or heading to our website, joyoflanguages.com/italianpodcast and searching for episode 103. Or, if you’re interested in seeing the full list, head to joyoflanguages.com/italian-tv-shows.
M: And most importantly, get tips on how to learn Italian with TV, including what to do if you don’t understand.
K: Remember, watching TV shows in Italian can be challenging, that’s normale, but it’s also a great way to improve your listening skills and pick up new vocabulary.
M: So, get some snacks, and go to relax on the sofa. It’s the perfect sneaky way to learn Italian!
K: See you next time, or as we say in Italian
K + M: Alla prossima!
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