Good Books to learn Italian | ELLCI

7 Good Books to learn Italian

good books to learn Italian

7 Good Books to learn Italian

Often we look online for stories and books to learn Italian that are easily accessible for practising the Italian language.

How to choose books to learn Italian that are suitable for your level? You can use this strategy: the skimming technique. Skimming reading is a method in which you focus on some elements that help you get the main ideas of ​​the text. When skimming, deliberately skip text that provides details, data, or other elaboration.
Focus on the images, introduction, title and bold words, chapter summaries, first and last sentences of paragraphs. This way you can evaluate your level of comprehension of the text.
If you have to lookup more than 50% of the words in the dictionary, it is better to put this book or story aside for a while. Otherwise, the reading begins.
If you need about 10 minutes to read and understand a page, it means that the relationship between the time spent and general understanding is adequate.

Reading carefully will allow you to identify and learn lexical and grammatical structures, and to improve memorization.

Reading good and short books to learn Italian 

We have previously talked about 5 easy books in Italian for foreigners, aimed mainly at those with an elementary level, A1-A2 of the Italian language.
Here instead we see some stories and short books to learn Italian aimed at those who already have a good level of knowledge of the language, from the intermediate level B1-B2. This selection varies from different genres, so we are sure you’ll find your cup of tea. 


Bildungsroman: La bella estate /The beautiful summer by Cesare Pavese, 108 pages

A coming-of-age novel reveals the path of maturation of the young protagonist who passes through disillusionment and individual crisis.
Through the adventures of Ginia, Cesare Pavese makes us discover the contradictions and hypocrisies of urban life.
Ginia, a young teenager from a blue-collar environment, comes into contact with a company of amateur painters who have a bohemian lifestyle. In a few pages, we see her formation in the city of Turin, where she finds herself balancing adolescent dreams with a more mature awareness.
Cesare Pavese was an Italian writer, poet, translator and literary critic, considered one of the greatest Italian intellectuals of the twentieth century.


Crime novel: Una storia semplice/A simple story by Leonardo Sciascia, 66 pages.

A Simple Story is a short novel of only 66 pages. A detective story that describes the clash over justice in Sicily.
With a compelling and pressing style, Sciascia highlights the negligence of local administrations and connivance with the crime. However, this state of affairs is constantly questioned by figures such as Brigadier Antonio Lagandara, who struggles to defeat the sick system.
Leonardo Sciascia was an Italian writer, journalist, essayist, playwright, poet, politician, art critic and teacher.

Romance novel: La testa e il cuore/The head and the heart, Simonetta Fiori, 204 pages, 30 stories

In this book by Simonetta Fiori, an Italian journalist and essayist, we find 30 short stories that talk about the love stories of as many famous couples.
The author has collected private stories, memories and emotions of international and Italian couples, mostly from the artistic environment. 

The lives of Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullman, Luis Sepúlveda and Carmen Yáñez, Julian Barnes and Pat Kavanagh, Dario Fo and Franca Rame, Renzo Arbore and Mariangela Melato are described in an interview format. The questions and answers allow for easier and more fluent reading. Perfect to learn Italian.


History and culture: Storia e cultura: Una giornata nell’antica Roma. Vita quotidiana, segreti e curiosità di Alberto Angela/ A day in ancient Rome. Daily life, secrets and curiosities of Alberto Angela, 331 pages


Don’t be frightened by the number of pages in this novel. It is divided into small chapters that can be read separately, even jumping from one section to another.

Alberto Angela, palaeontologist, science writer, television host, Italian journalist and writer, is known for his engaging and simple style.

The story is punctuated by the various moments of a typical day in imperial Rome.

We can imagine daily life in ancient Rome starting from the habits in the houses and the streets. Angela alternates detailed descriptions of places and lifestyles, with direct narratives that take you back in time.


Visionary: Le città invisibili/Invisible Cities of Italo Calvino, 176 pages.

Italo Calvino, one of the most important Italian writers of the second half of the twentieth century, imagines a dialogue between Marco Polo and the emperor of the Tartars, Kublai Khan. The emperor asks the explorer to describe the cities of his empire.

Marco Polo offers a physical description of the cities he met in his travels and enriches it with the sensations and emotions he experienced in each city with scents, flavours and sounds that arouse imaginary cities.

The book is divided into nine chapters, but another internal subdivision is given by the 11 paragraphs that group the 55 cities described. The reader can then choose to follow one grouping or another, the division into chapters or categories, or even just choose to jump from one city description to another.


Theater: Novecento by Alessandro Baricco, 64 pages.

Novecento is a theatrical monologue from which the film The Legend of 1900, by Giuseppe Tornatore, was based.

It is the singular story of Danny Boodman T.D. Lemon Novecento, born on board the Virginian steamship At the turn of the 20th Century

Still a baby, he is abandoned inside the Virginian’s first-class piano. The steamship transport passengers from old Europe to the New World.  Danny grows up on the ship and develops a unique relationship with it, so much so that he never goes ashore and therefore does not know any other reality outside the ship. Over time he becomes an extraordinary pianist and a true legend.


Biographies: Storie della buonanotte per bambine ribelli: 100 vite di donne straordinarie/ Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Lives of Extraordinary Women by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, 327 pages.

Francesca Cavallo, writer and theatre director and Elena Favilli, writer and journalist, have collected in this book 100 stories of women who represent inspiring figures.

The stories presented are written in a simplified version, as if they were bedtime stories aimed at children. The language has a simple style but has verbs conjugated to the past tense that can be faced by those with B2 and C1 levels.

International and Italian personalities are described such as Malala Yousafzai, Rita Levi Montalcini, Frida Kalo, Serena Williams ranging from the world of art, literature, sport and science.

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