Italian audiobooks have become an incredibly useful language-learning tool for those learning the language and wanting to get the most out of their free time. Using this tool allows you to familiarize yourself with the different sounds of the Italian language pretty much whenever and wherever you want. For example, you can be listening to one while cooking a meal, doing exercise or commuting. Not only this, but because they are spoken by native speakers, you get to assimilate, in a unique way, the phonetics of the language as well as the customs and the way phrases are constructed.
The Best Italian Audiobooks Online For Learning Italian
I know there are countless Italian audiobooks online, many of which are great for learning Italian; there are also some great ones you can listen to directly on YouTube. In this channel, for example, you’ll find many Italian audio-books (and in other languages) in the public domain.
Here is our list of the best Italian audiobooks for learning Italian. With it, you will find a description of their plot and their level of difficulty.
1. ‘Il nome della rosa’, Umberto Eco
Genre: Historical/mystery novel
Plot: A medieval story which takes place in Italy in a Benedictine abbey. It is about the findings of a Franciscan monk, Guillermo de Baskerville, and his disciple, an oblate novice called Adso de Melk, who investigate a series of mysterious murders occurring in the abbey. The story is a very well written mystery novel which rigorously reflects Benedictine and Franciscan mentality, attitudes, worldview and moral code during the medieval times.
Level of Difficulty: Upper intermediate/advanced. This book is rather complicated and has Latin terminology; however, the story is very good and captivating. It’s ideal for those who enjoy mystery novels and want to learn vocabulary related to history.
2. ‘La trilogía de Austwich’, Primo Levi
Plot: A compilation of 2 chronicles and 1 exposition which narrate the experience and deepest reflection of Primo Levi on the Nazi concentration camps, of which final objectives were to deprive its prisoners of their humanity, robing them of their identity, hope and dignity. The first book ‘Se questo è un uomo’ narrates his horrifying experience of being imprisoned for 11 months in an Auschwitz concentration camp (Monowitz). The second one ‘la tregua’ describes his journey through Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to finally reach his home in Turin after having been freed from the concentration camp. The third book ‘I sommersi e i salvati’ is an exposition in which he analyzes the world of the concentration camps from a sociological and psychological perspective. Levi concludes that, in terms of its effectiveness, this was the most refined and brutal way of all times to destroy people physically and psychologically.
Level of difficulty: Intermediate/advanced. The manner in which they are recited is clear and captivating.
3. ‘Le meraviglie del duemila’, Emilio Salgari
Plot: Two scientists who study the main active agent of an exotic plant, which pauses all bodily organs, manage to “travel“ into the future, from 1903 to 2003. This way, they discover a new reality and a modern world in which cars fly, cities are underwater and trains travel at an incredible speed under cities.
Level of difficulty: Intermediate. The story is a futuristic one but the language is not hard to understand.
4. ‘L’amica geniale’, Elena Ferrante
Plot: This is the first of a series of four novels called ‘Las novelas napolitanas’. This first novel is about the childhood of two inseparable friends, Lila and Elena (the protagonists of the Neapolitan series), who grow in a deprived and violent neighborhood in Naples in which the possibilities of achieving higher education are very slim. Lila is irreverent and a rebel, while Elena is timid and compliant. Both girls try to find a way out of their neighborhood in order to find better work and education opportunities. However, the plans don’t work out for Lila as, unlike Elena, she doesn’t make it out of Naples. The story brilliantly explains the feelings and attitudes of addiction, manipulation, resentment and love from a psychological point of view.
Level of difficulty: Upper intermediate. The manner in which the story is told is direct and visceral. The narrative technique is centered on happenings in the past, something which will help you familiarize yourself with Italian past tenses.
5. Le aventure di Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi
Plot: A humble carpenter called Geppetto has always wanted to have a son. Because of this, he decides to create his own son by carving wood to create a puppet. But, before being able to finish it, the puppet comes to life, becoming flesh and blood; the carpenter decides to call him Pinocchio.
Level of difficulty: Being a book dedicated for children, its level of difficulty is low and is recommended for beginners.
I hope that this list of audio-books in Italian will help you immerse yourself in the language and culture by making full use of your free time! If you know of other Italian audiobooks you think are great when learning Italian, don’t hesitate to share them with us in the comment section below.
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