If there is one thing that we have understood well after so many years of work and teaching, it is the role that books have during the learning process: they are a very important support resource, useful to delve into topics (especially grammar) and to practice.
We, at Milano for Foreigners, are convinced that you can learn a language even without having a book in front of you if you entrust yourself to trained and certified teachers who know how to involve and motivate you. If you’re thinking of learning Italian simply by studying a manual, you are off track, you learn a language by communicating with those who speak it perfectly!
Having said that, we suggest you take a look at this list, containing our suggestions on the books on which you can delve into your studies and practice. There are books for all levels and tastes: grammar manuals, books focused on vocabulary, books with “alternative” approaches, books on particular fields, such as business (especially useful for those who work), and books to prepare yourself for language certification exams.
Nuova grammatica della lingua italiana
This book, written by Susanna Nocchi, is one of the best to learn grammar and its rules, and is suitable for students with levels from A1 to B2.
The strengths of the book, much valued by teachers, are the very clear and simple presentation of grammar rules – through well-built cards – and the agile and graduated exercises inserted at the end of each chapter – which will allow you to immediately check your level of knowledge of the subject.
Grammatica avanzata della lingua italiana
The book, written by Susanna Nocchi and Roberto Tartaglione, is intended for students already in possession of a good knowledge of the language (levels B1 to C2), who want to improve further.
The book offers syntactic forms and constructs, even of the spoken language, which are very widespread, but not easily found in other textbooks of Italian for foreigners, such as: when and how to use articles, adjective and adverb positions in sentences, the use of particular words, and names alterations. The authors explain everything in an exemplary way, through very clear and in-depth descriptions.
The exercises are very engaging, and also contain a lot of information about Italian lifestyle, society, and culture.
Le parole italiane
It is a book that offers many exercises and games, that will help you learn, memorize, and broaden your vocabulary, and it is suitable for students of all levels.
The book is divided into two sections. The first one, deals with the study of words from the point of view of lexical areas (e.g. physical description, colours, clothes) and it focuses on the many idiomatic phrases, on the typical ways of saying words in the Italian language, and on the change of meaning of words in different contexts.
The second part is dedicated to the “grammar of the lexicon”, focussing on topics that are usually not covered in the manuals, such as the formation of words, their placement in phrases, irregular names, synonyms, opposites, adverbs, and compound words. This is accomplished through clear and well-done cards, as well as stimulating, and very original exercises.
If you’re looking for an alternative way to learn Italian, this book by Rossana Andriuzzi, intended for B1 and B2 level students, may appeal to you.
“L’italiano dell’arte” will teach you the language through the analysis of famous paintings, using a communicative approach: starting from looking at the work of art, you will be stimulated to reflect and make hypothesis, but above all, to work on your knowledge of the Italian language, as to develop the communicative abilities that will enable you to speak about art in Italian.
The exercises in the book will allow you to practice the use of the language in the art field while, at the same time, revising the grammar and its rules.
Italiano per economisti
This specialist text is intended for foreign students and professionals who have to use Italian for their studies and work activities. This text is suitable for levels A2 to C1.
The book consists of 17 teaching units, each of which focuses on typical topics of the economy: companies, contracts, types of companies, invoices, banks, marketing and much more, and also includes, at the end of each chapter, a glossary with all the basic terms encountered in the teaching unit.
Books to obtain language certifications
Here, we will list some books to practice and study in order to obtain a linguistic certification (CELI, CILS and PLIDA).
To prepare for the CELI exam, we recommend the following book: “Come prepararsi alla certificazione CELI”. The collection includes a manual for each level of CELI. The books consist of 4 teaching units that offer 5 different types of exercises: a comprehension test, a written production test, an oral comprehension test and an oral production test.
To take the CILS certification exams we recommend the book “Quaderni CILS”: the collection includes a book for each level, and each book contains the tests given in past years. Also, there are exercises for each of the phases of which the exam is made of.
To prepare for the exam for PLIDA we recommend you “Quaderni per il PLIDA”. Even in this case, there is a book for each level of certification. Each volume contains many exercises and explains what you need to know and what you need to know how to do in order to pass the tests of each module of which the exam is composed of.