Italian Language

If you're not sure where to start your research this guide will point you to some of the best starting points. Don't forget, you can always get in touch directly with any questions you may have. For Italian language course listings and descriptions see the undergraduate calendar.

The following is just a small selection of the books we have on the Italian language.
NOTE: you can request print books through our Curbside Pick-up service 

Another good source of language learning material, because they cater to a multilingual public, is the Ottawa Public Library. Anyone living in Ottawa can make use of their resources




Reading Books in Italian

  • Readers
  • Internet Archive: many out of copyright works available for free. Search for a specific work, or in the advanced search you can add a custom field: language and specify Italian
  • Our own collection of literature is mostly in print, and is mostly from literary authors 
    • You can look up a specific title of a book, or you can see all the works we have by a given author by going to the Advanced Search screen, changing the "any field" to "author/creator" and looking up the author by last name, first name (if you don't want to see any English translations, you can set the language option to Italian)
      screen shot showing Omni search for eco, umberto as author
    • When you are looking at the full record for a particular book, you will see a virtual browse function at the bottom of the screen: this is quite useful for literature since all of the books BY a certain author, and ABOUT an author are found in the same area and you can use the arrows on screen to browse through titles. You will notice that English translations of Italian texts will usually be found beside the original Italian
      screen shot of the Virtual Browse shelf, shows book covers in the order they appear on the shelf



Scholarly journal articles

  • Omni: our easy-to-use search tool, right on the Library home page  OR
  • You can search some of our other recommended databases.
    - In both cases, most articles will be in English, but there is always the option to limit language to Italian

News & Magazine Sources

We subscribe to a number of databases that have the full text of newspapers and other news sources from around the world and there are many free sites that give access to news in Italian. 

  • Factiva full text news from around the world. Some important notes for finding material in Italian
    • Note that the default date limit is "in the last 3 months", so change as needed
    • You can choose one or more specific sources to search, example: Corriere della Sera
      Factiva search screen showing a keyword search (in Italian) with a specific news source chosen
    • You can choose to search news sources from a specific city, country or region or combination. In this example, the city of Rome is chosen, and you can expand the regions to choose one or more other areas
    • Very important: Remove the default language= English and add language = Italian
      Factiva search screen showing a choice of regions to search and the language changed from English to Italian
  • Nexis Uni - you can do a keyword search in Italian and then filter results to specific regions or specific sources. All dates are included by default
  • Press Reader - access over 5000 newspapers and magazines from over 100 countries. 90 day backfile only. Language or country can be selected from menu on the left. For example, there are almost 200 titles in Italian
    Sample of Italian publications in Press Reader
  • RAI News
  • News in Slow Italian - adjust speed, follow along with transcript


Our Collection:

  • Do a Keyword search in Omni by title of film, name of director, topic. Example: Fellini
  • Once you get your results, limit the "Resource Type" to "videos" . (NOTE: you will probably have to click on the "Show More"  to see the video options)
  • If needed, limit the language to Italian
  • If you only want to see videos available via online streaming, limit the "Availability" to "Available online"
  • You can request physical DVDs through our  Curbside Pick-up service.
    Showing the Videos Resource Type filter, and the availability filter
  • We also have 2 streaming video database you can search

Free Video Sources

  • YouTube: you can find a vast amount of free videos and channels in Italian and for learning Italian. Especially useful if you urn on subtitles. You can also adjust YouTube Settings to a slower speed.
    - For example OneWorldItaliano, has videos targeted to the various Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages
    - Here a list and description of of other YouTube channels that may be of interest
  • Internet Archive: search by topic and then limit results using filters: media type = movies & language=italian
  • BBC Languages - Italian now an archived site, but has learning videos, links to watching Italian TV...

Streaming Services (for a fee, but hey most of us have at least one)

Many English language shows are dubbed into other languages, so pick a favourite, start playing, and find the icon for  Subtitles & Audio to change to dubbed audio and subtitle language of choice.

  • Netflix: just type "Italian" into the search box and you can choose to browse films or TV shows in Italian
  • Amazon Prime: just type "Italian" into the search box and you can choose to browse films or TV shows in Italian.

Listening to Italian music and following along with lyrics, can be a great way to improve your language skills, especially with pronunciation. Listening to audio podcasts is another way to get your ear familiar with rhythm, tone, flow of a language


  • RAI Radio Podcasts
  • Con Parole Nostre (intermediate) - 3 friends chat about what's new in Italy. Transcripts are available
  • Podcast Italiano - listen online, or subscribe through iTunes or Spotify (scroll the page for the English introduction). Has beginner to advanced levels
  • And so many more: search your favorite podcast hosting app for Italian Language resources


Curate your own list, or discover Italian language music using your preferred way of listening to music, here are some examples:

  • Spotify : search for "Italian" to see a variety of playlists, including Italian Rap, Italian Pop etc.
  • Italian Radio Statons - listen live, list includes tags for genres
  • YouTube music videos - search for a specific song, artist, or just search "italian" with your favourite genre to find playlists

Music lyrics

  • Youtube: keyword search for "lyrics" and a specific song or artist, for example Elodie Guarana. Don't forget that you can go into settings on YouTube and slow down playback if you have trouble following along at normal speed
  • AZ Music Lyrics: Italian Lyrics
  • - search by artist, song, or album
Content last reviewed: January 29, 2021