Italy Made Easy Overview
Italy Made Easy is exactly what it sounds like: Italian lessons presented in a simple and accessible format. This program is fun, engaging, and extremely comprehensive, making it a great choice for anyone who has been dying to learn how to speak the language of pizza.
Okay, I know there is a lot more to Italy than pizza (But, seriously, who doesn’t love pizza?). Italian is one of the most beautiful languages in the world, ranking right up there in popularity with French and Spanish when it comes to the Romance Languages. Who wouldn’t want to learn this lovely language?
Well, thanks to Manu Venditti, the founder of Italy Made Easy, you can now learn Italian in an entertaining and modern way through this online program. Not only is this course simple, but it is also quite thorough which is a nice change from many of the other ‘easy’ language learning programs out there.
As a language learner, you’re probably already familiar with the fact that every language program has its pros and cons, so before we get too far along into this review, here are a few highlights that I would like to point out.
italy made easy pricing
There are five full Courses currently available through Italy Made Easy:
Beginner Level 1
Beginner Level 2
Intermediate Level 1
Intermediate Level 2
Learn Italian With Audio
Each level comes with lifetime access for that one-time payment. They offer a 30-day, full money-back guarantee as well as free transfers to different levels, either one up or one down if you choose the wrong level initially.
Initial Thoughts Of Italy Made Easy
My first thought upon visiting this website is that it is a bit busy. There is a lot going on here, so if you’re like me and like to look through the program information before getting started, it may take you a while to find what you’re looking for.
This is a web-based program, so it’s no surprise that the designers have put a lot of work into making the website bright and eye-catching. Unfortunately, this has also made it a bit overwhelming.
The overall effect is attractive and welcoming at first, so if you’re just a little curious it will draw you in fairly quickly. It was clearly laid out by someone who knows a bit about advertising and product placement. My only complaint would be that the truly pertinent information, like prices, is buried in amongst a lot of fluffy and unnecessary testimonials and promotional information.
Thankfully, there is a “Click Here To Get Started” button prominently displayed on the front page for those of you who don’t want to sift through the pages and pages of testimonials and ad-like statements. Even this is a bit deceiving though because it takes you to the ‘Courses’ page, which you have to go through to find where you can actually sign up.
The reason for this is that they do not offer a free trial. You have to purchase a course before you can create an account. There are a few learning materials that you can access without having an account, but the majority of it requires you to purchase a course before you can gain access.
Finding Your Level With Italy Made Easy
To get started you will have to choose the course that is right for your fluency level. If you’re not sure what level you should start with, they offer a self-assessment to help you figure out where to begin.
Unlike most language apps that will give you a short multi-question quiz to determine your fluency level, Italy Made Easy has a slightly more in-depth approach. They correctly state that those short assessments are not accurate. These quizzes typically only assess one or two elements of fluency instead of looking at the whole picture.
With this self-assessment, they recommend that you consider how long you’ve been studying, your knowledge of Italian grammar, your speaking confidence, and your listening and comprehension skills. If you're lacking in any area they recommend starting at the very beginning.
To be honest, the assessment feels a bit like another type of advertising. They really push the idea that you should start with Beginner Level 1, even if you’ve been studying Italian for a while. To some extent, I can see why they would say that, both from a learning perspective as well as a business perspective. It just comes off as slightly pushy to me.
If you go through the self-assessment process and still aren’t quite sure what level to choose, you can still decide without stressing too much. If you get into the course and find that the level you chose isn’t a good fit for you, they will move you up or down a level, depending on your needs.
There are several mentions throughout the site that this is a small company that cares about you and your learning experience. They encourage users to call or email if they have any issues because they want to correct any problems as quickly as possible. I did not test their customer service, but they mention this level of quality service quite often, so I hope they stand behind it.
Getting Started With Italy Made Easy
Now that you have found your proper level, you can create your account. For this, you will have to provide all of your basic demographics such as name, email address, physical address, and phone number. You will then be directed to provide your payment information.
This is something that bothers me and not just because I like free stuff.
They have a 30-day money-back guarantee, but I couldn’t find any information about how long it may take to get your money back. The hope, of course, is that you will love the program and won’t want your money back, but what if you don’t love it? It would be a lot easier if you could just try it for a few days before investing $250.
That being said, they require payment first, so once you have provided your payment information and everything has gone through, you can finally get started!
The first thing you will encounter is a little information about how to use the program and how to access all of the useful learning materials that come with this plan. This is a simple but helpful feature, especially with such an in-depth program.
Navigating the program is fairly simple once you know how to find everything.
Side Note: It is a good idea to mark each lesson as complete as soon as you finish it because there are a lot of lessons with similar names and you don’t want to waste time trying to remember where you left off.
From Zero To Italian
From Zero to Italian is the name of the main program ranging from Beginner Level 1 to Intermediate Level 3. They are adding Advanced Italian courses later in 2021 and into 2022, but for now, the course runs to upper-intermediate fluency.
Each course contains over 60 hours of video lessons as well as quizzes, practice exercises, and other interactive activities.
The courses are divided into units, approximately 10 per course, which follow a logical learning path. Each unit contains 10 to 20 lessons, depending on the subject. This ends up being 100 to 150 lessons per course which may sound a bit intimidating, but once you get started you’ll see that the lessons are so enjoyable that you’ll wish there were more.
Lessons For Italy Made Easy
You can easily recognize that this program was designed by an experienced teacher who knows how students are most likely to benefit from each type of lesson. Manu has over 20 years of teaching experience and you can tell that he truly loves what he does.
Each lesson consists of a video from Manu. Each video is packed with useful information that he reiterates almost to the point of redundancy. This may bother some learners, but others will find it helpful because there is no way you can forget these concepts once he’s done explaining them.
In the early lessons, he uses a lot of English to explain each concept, but as you progress into the more advanced levels you will find that more and more of the content is in Italian. This is a great way to learn because not only are you learning the concept he is teaching, but you’re practicing your listening and comprehension skills at the same time.
There is not an app for this program, but the website is mobile-friendly, so you can access all the lessons from your phone if you’re on the go. You can also download lessons to learn while you’re offline or print PDF lesson summaries for some reading practice.
One of the most striking features of this program is just how comprehensive it is. There is no language learning element missing from this program. These lessons cover everything from in-depth grammar to pronunciation and even cultural nuances.
Many programs boast that by the time you’re finished with their lessons, you will be speaking like a native. Most of the time that is a gross exaggeration, but this program has the potential to follow through on that promise. If you complete every lesson and do all the activities, I do not doubt that you will come out of it speaking like a true Italian.
Another impressive feature is that this program was designed by a native speaker specifically for English speakers. This is an oddly unusual dynamic to find in modern language programs, but it works like a charm.
Manu understands how English speakers think and has designed these lessons to fit that way of thinking. He uses English concepts to teach you how to think like an Italian. This leads to easier lessons and fewer struggles with complex grammar rules.
If you do run across something in a lesson that is confusing you, you can post questions in the community forum. There is a forum attached to each lesson where you will find questions from other users as well as helpful answers from the friendly staff at Italy Made Easy.
Depending on the level you’re in and what lesson you are on, you will encounter a variety of practice exercises. Many of the lessons will have practice exercises directly after the video lesson while other shorter lessons will have combined practice exercises.
These exercises are as comprehensive as the lessons. They include things like flashcards, reading practice with multiple-choice questions, speaking practice, and more. Some lessons will even include homework, or assignments, to help ensure that you truly understand the material.
The interactive flashcards are a fun way to work on your vocabulary and quick recall. The dictation exercises will improve your listening and writing skills. The translation and pronunciation challenges are also a fun way to practice all of the material you’ve learned so far. Each activity is tailored to help you learn as effectively as possible.
Each unit also includes a quiz. The quiz will cover all of the material in the unit, giving you a chance to review and determine whether or not you’re ready to move on to the next unit.
If you want to take your practice exercises a little further, you can chat with a native speaker. This has an additional cost and is a bit pricey compared to similar programs, but they do make the opportunity available if you’re interested.
True Learning With Italy Made Easy
This program is specifically designed to teach you everything you need to know about speaking Italian, so they encourage you to take it slow and make sure you understand each concept completely before taking on your next challenge. This is another key standout feature for me.This program is specifically designed to teach you everything you need to know about speaking Italian, so they encourage you to take it slow and make sure you understand each concept completely before taking on your next challenge. This is another key standout feature for me.
Too many language programs give students an unrealistic idea of how quickly they should be learning. Statements like, "Learn a new language in 90 days." or "Start having conversations after just 10 minutes." are simply unrealistic and often quite damaging.
These claims cause students to become discouraged, thinking they are not smart enough. In reality, learning a new language is a long process that shouldn't be rushed. Italy Made Easy suggests that it should take approximately six months to finish each of their courses, which is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to process this vast amount of information.
Learn Italian With Audio
Along with the From Zero To Italian course, Italy Made Easy also offers a course specifically designed to help intermediate speakers improve their listening and comprehension skills. This program includes a 12-week lesson plan based on an original audiobook performed entirely in modern, but easy-to-understand Italian.
This program was designed to help learners become more comfortable with listening to Italian the way it is spoken by native speakers. The story was written to keep learners engaged while teaching a vast amount of vocabulary and colloquial phrases.
I did not purchase this course, but the idea sounds fantastic. It comes with a large number of additional learning materials and helpful tips to keep you learning while still being entertained.
This course does cost as much as the other courses, so don’t imagine that you’re just purchasing an average audiobook. The audiobook is the focus, but this is intended to be a full language course that specifically focuses on listening comprehension.
Italy Made Easy Free Materials
As I mentioned early on, this is a pay-to-play program. If you want to get a feel for how the program works as a whole, you will have to invest in a full course. Thankfully, there are few free materials that you can access to give you an idea of Manu’s methods.
If you go to the Italy Made Easy website and click on Resources at the top of the page you will find that there is a section of free lessons. These lessons are separated into categories based on the fluency level required to benefit from them, but they are not organized into any specific learning plan.
You can also experience some of Manu’s teaching methods through his popular YouTube channel. You’ll find an extremely wide variety of video lessons that offer a fun way to get in 5 or 10 minutes of Italian here and there. These videos are also fairly random, but very entertaining.
He has also included a few of his full lessons on his channel although they are taken directly from the From Zero To Italy course, so they are significantly longer and more in-depth than the typical YouTube video you would expect.
If you like email subscriptions, Italy Made Easy also has what they call their Italian Digest. This is an email newsletter packed with helpful hints and tips as well as links to other free learning materials.If you like email subscriptions, Italy Made Easy also has what they call their Italian Digest. This is an email newsletter packed with helpful hints and tips as well as links to other free learning materials.
Last, but not least, they also have a free podcast. This is a podcast in slow, easy-to-understand Italian that will improve your listening and comprehension skills as well as teach you some interesting things about Italy.
Drawbacks To Italy Made Easy
I usually run across at least three of four drawbacks for every language program, but in this case, I only have two small issues to mention: Manu’s chattiness and the cost of the program.
Manu is an extremely enthusiastic teacher and all of his videos are very personal. It is easy to get caught up in the lessons because each one feels like he is truly speaking directly to you. Almost as though he is your dear friend trying to teach you this wonderful thing that he is passionate about.
Well, just like every truly passionate friend, he can go a little overboard. Some of the lessons are quite long simply because he explains and explains and explains again. For some learners, this is extremely helpful, but it may bother others, so simply be prepared for extra information that may not interest you.
Secondly, the high cost. I do not want to imply that this program is not worth the cost. Far from it, in fact. This is one of the most enjoyable and comprehensive plans that I have ever tried. It is worth the money, but many students who could benefit from it simply won’t be able to use it because of the cost.
It would be beneficial if they could implement some kind of subscription option like many of the other popular language programs on the market nowadays. They are adding more and more to the program each year, so hopefully this is something they will update soon.
If this doesn’t sound quite like your style or you’re just interested in other options, here are a few cool programs to look into.
italki is an online tutoring service that connects thousands of language learners to native speakers every day. They have tutors for hundreds of languages at very reasonable prices. Scheduling lessons is easy and the teachers are a lot of fun, so it is a win-win for everyone.
Pimsleur is a popular language program that has been around for quite a while. They offer comprehensive audio lessons designed to get you speaking your new language in just 30 minutes a day. They offer a very reasonable subscription program that makes it easy to squeeze language learning into almost any budget.
ItalianPOD101 is a good option if you’re looking to improve your listening skills. They offer a wide variety of video and audio lessons for those with a lower-intermediate to advanced level of Italian fluency.
Busuu is a good option for beginners who want to start small or those who are just looking for a handy practice tool. This app allows you to squeeze in an Italian lesson even if you only have a few minutes to spare. This app also gives you access to thousands of other language learners who can give you quick feedback about your progress.
Italy Made Easy Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, I have to say that Italy Made Easy is a great program. It offers everything you need to become truly fluent in Italian. The lessons are engaging and interesting while still being packed full of quality learning material.
Although it may be a bit costly, I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is serious about learning Italian. Manu is an incredible, if somewhat talkative, instructor who will have you understanding and speaking Italian faster than you can say, “Buongiorno!”
Remember, no matter which language learning program you choose, the key factor to every language journey is enjoyment. You will learn a lot more if you are enjoying the experience, so be sure to try out a few programs to find one that works best for your learning style.