Around 85 million people speak Italian including the 59 million inhabitants of Italy itself and around half a million citizens of Switzerland, where it is one of four official languages. Italian is spoken in parts of several Balkan countries including Albania, Croatia and Slovenia, and in former Italian colonies such as Libya, Somalia and Eritrea. Most of the population of Malta speak Italian and it is the official language of two of the world's smallest countries: San Marino and the Vatican City.
There have been many great Italian films and of course the country has a long history of opera. In fact you probably already know several Italian phrases without realising it: 'nessun dorma' (none shall sleep), 'la dolce vita' (the good life), 'cosi fan tutte' (thus do all). Although not 'o sole mio' which is actually in the Neapolitan language; in Italian that would be 'il sole mio' (my sunshine).
Levels offered: Italian
Beginners (level 1)
You have little or no prior knowledge of Italian.
Post-beginners (level 2)
You can manage in everyday situations using the present tense.
Intermediate (level 3)
You can read and write basic Italian sentences.
Advanced (level 4)
You can understand the main points of everyday spoken and written Italian and are confident in the past and future tenses.
Not sure which level you want? Use the ELP self-assessment grid to identify your level of competence.
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Greeting: "Buongiorno" [good morning - formal]
Counting: uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque...
Useful phrase: "Vuoi ballare con me?" (informal) - (Would you like to dance with me?)
Interesting point: Since roman times it is well known that "Tutte le strade portano a Roma" (All roads lead to Rome). Meaning that there are many ways to accomplish a goal.