If reading in Italian has become too challenging for you, you might not have been using the right content and should consider making a change.
There are countless ways to learn new vocabulary and grammar at an intermediate level of Italian, but the most important thing you need to keep in mind is this fundamental principle: reading the right content at the right level.
Don’t worry; you don’t need to have an excellent command of the Italian language. You won’t have to sit and look up every second word in the dictionary. If you choose the right material, reading can be a fun and rewarding way to take your Italian to new heights.
Remember that the learning content you use doesn’t have to be authentic in order for you to make steady progress in your Italian studies. The appropriate level for you should be slightly higher than your current one, challenging but not excessively so. Overwhelming content takes the fun out of learning.
Why are short stories an effective learning tool?
I understand if you’ve tried and failed to learn new vocabulary using endless vocab lists or flashcards; it has happened to me as well. We can’t learn words in isolation. We must associate them with meaningful content, a memory, or a story. In a short story, you’ll find words that fit the context, and that’s how you’ll end up memorizing a ton of new vocabulary and naturally perfecting your grammar.
Learning words in isolation won’t get you very far if you don’t associate them with any memory. Immersing yourself in a short story will help you learn proper grammar, understand words and expressions in context, and develop a good strategy for repeating words and phrases.
Because a short story rarely exceeds 20-30 pages, re-reading the content is a simple task, and the key to learning almost anything is repetition.
If you’re an intermediate Italian learner, you’ll find a collection of fantastic short stories in this post to help you improve your language skills in a fun way.
All of them have proven to be a quick and easy way for my students to improve their conversational skills in a short amount of time.
7 Romance Short Stories for Italian Language Learners (A2-B2)
A collection of modern romance short stories optimized for intermediate levels, set in different cities around the world!.Each story features a couple falling in and out of love and includes real-life dialogues and experiences, providing plenty of reusable vocabulary. Each chapter is filled with bilingual vocabulary lists (English and Italian) and a set of recall activities, such as translation, conversation prompts, and gap-filling exercises with prepositions.
An audio version narrated in slow Italian is also available. The book has been designed by Serena Capilli, an Italian language teacher, polyglot, and author of this blog. Available on Amazon and Payhip.
Le Avventure di Paul a Roma (A2-B1)
Do you know that Rome is a jigsaw puzzle of different neighborhoods, each with its own identity and history? Follow Paul’s adventures in the numerous neighborhoods of Rome, learn more about the Eternal City, and improve your Italian understanding through simple Italian dialogues and stories.
This book is ideal for advanced beginners and intermediate Italian learners. Each chapter is short enough that you can read it in minutes and is followed by a bilingual word list in English and Italian.
Incontri in Sicilia (A2-B1)
Incontri in Sicilia is the second episode of my short story collection which help you understand Italian and Italy better through real-life dialogues. The protagonist is Fiona, the first in her Italian-American family to learn her ancestors’ language. At university in the US, she earned a scholarship and moved to Rome to improve her Italian for a semester. But there’s more to the story. To complete an Italian citizenship application, she must obtain a copy of her great-grandfather’s birth certificate. This brings her to Sicily. In Sicily, she has several encounters that will forever alter her future.This short story is appropriate for all Italian learners who have at least a pre-intermediate level of proficiency in the language (A2). This book might be useful for the B1(intermediate) level too.
La Vicina di Casa (A2-B2)
This short storybook is an easy read for intermediate learners who also want to learn about the beautiful region of Northern Italy: Piedmont. The story revolves around a young writer who leaves the bustling city of Turin to find peace in the calm of the Italian Alps, in a small village called Morinesio. There, she will learn to live at a slow pace and make new friends. The book comes with an audio CD version and plenty of excellent drills at the end of the book to help you memorize the new vocabulary and reinforce the main Italian grammar topics at an intermediate level. You can get in on Amazon.
Il Mistero di Veronica (A2-B2)
This is an easy read for the lower-intermediate level. Veronica is a young woman living in Milan. Her life revolves around her career until she meets a young artist on a train who will turn her life upside down. The two fall in love, but Veronica has a well-kept secret that Massimo will try to uncover.
The book has an audio version. Each chapter ends with a worksheet containing vocabulary and grammar exercises relevant to the chapter. Available on Amazon.
Delitto in Crociera (B1-B2)
Lorenzo is tired of his monotonous life and can’t seem to find the right job for himself. So, he decides to become an entertainer on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean. Once on board, he won’t have a chance to be bored because something unexpected happens during the voyage: a mysterious disappearance occurs, and he unwillingly becomes involved in a complicated and challenging situation. Each chapter of the book will include short cultural explanations and helpful exercises to improve comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary. The audio is available for free once you purchase the book. The content level is appropriate for lower and upper intermediate levels in Italian. Available on Amazon.
Le Avventure di Pinocchio (B1-B2)
Do you want to read one of the most iconic Italian masterpieces in simple Italian? This book is for you. It is a short storybook and the original version of Carlo Collodi’s masterpiece “Le avventure di Pinocchio,” written in Florence in 1881. This version has been re-written in a simplified form for intermediate Italian learners as a second language by Jacopo Gorini, a teacher of Italian as a foreign language. You can also download the audio-book by following the instructions at the end of the book. Additionally, a separate exercise workbook will help you internalize the new vocabulary and grammar at an intermediate level. Available on Amazon.
Mani d’oro (B1-B2)
An Italian mystery set in the beautiful town of Treviso that revolves around the murder of the head of a famous fashion house. Who was the murderer, and why? It’s a story of love, family drama, and the quest for power. Every chapter is packed with cultural insights about Italy and Treviso, comprehension exercises, and audio. This book will be a good fit for intermediate and upper-intermediate Italian levels. Available on Amazon.
Spaghetti al Veleno (A2-B2)
The story is a mystery and is set in a famous restaurant in Milan. Valentina, a young waitress at the restaurant, will have to act as an investigator to help her colleague Gennaro, who has been accused of murdering an important guest at the restaurant, who died suddenly from poisoning. In each chapter, brief cultural annotations and a didactic apparatus with comprehension, grammar and lexical comprehension and expansion exercises. The audio is available for free. Available on Amazon.
This short story book is slightly different from the others as it is a collection of comics. Each comic revolves around an aspect of modern Italian society. For example, the way Italians greet each other by kissing on the cheeks or their strong aversion towards the rain! If you haven’t tried using comics to learn Italian before, you should give it a try. This form of learning will take your Italian skills a long way as it will help you familiarize yourself with the language through dialogues. This book is suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced levels(A2-C1). Each chapter ends with a supplementary worksheet about Italian culture, idioms, vocabulary, and grammar related to the comic you have just read. Available on Amazon.
Storie Italiane (A2-B1)
This exquisite short storybook is designed for those who want to learn about the most important historical events and ages of Italy. Each chapter presents a short story set in a specific historical period, such as the Renaissance, Fascism, or the Italian Unification. The book includes an exercise section and supplementary information boxes to provide a better understanding of the time discussed in the story. The vocabulary and grammar used are suitable for a good lower intermediate and intermediate level. Available on Amazon.
Passive learning: read it and listen to the content only once.
- Read it.
- Listen to the content repeatedly.
- Seek new words or sentences.
- Create your flashcards.
Proactive learning: use or lose it! Make a written summary of each chapter, ensuring you are using the new set of words and sentences. Talk about it: bring it up in your conversions with your teachers or language partners.