Romance languages: a love story
The Romance languages (also know as the Romanic languages, Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are group of related languages all derived from Vulgar Latin between the sixth and ninth centuries and that thus form a subgroup of the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family.
The major languages of the family include Italian – of course -, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian, all national languages.
The name Romance indeed suggests the ultimate connection of these languages with Rome. A popular form of Latin itself is in fact the precursor of this linguistic group.
Romance languages share a good proportion of basic vocabulary and a number of similar grammatical forms. That’s why is easier to learn a new language if it’s of the same family group. Italian mother tongue and students learning Italian will find easier to express themselves in Spanish or French.
Like any skill, practice makes perfect and a good knowledge of grammar in general and the peculiarities of a language family mean that every addition to your repertoire is a little easier.
Once you master Italian, why not take the opportunity to travel around Europe and dive in another Romance language? And if you plan to stay for a while, then consider a language course, like some Spanish courses abroad. A few phrases will get you far, but a brief understanding of the language itself will get you even further.