Three months ago, I wrote this post which featured ten songs I listen to in order to improve my German. And because it’s now summer time and many of you (me included) are probably planning on going on holiday, I thought it would be appropriate to do an ‘Italian’ version of the post – because Italy is a perfect place to go on holiday, don’t you think?
When learning a language, it is important to practice all the different skills: you need to write, read, speak and listen. Now, if you’re learning a language in school, it’s easy to do all the reading, writing and speaking. I found it’s the listening that you don’t get enough of – sure, you listen to your teacher and sometimes you get to watch a short video, but I don’t think that’s enough. When I first started really learning English, I constantly watched TV series and listened to music. It’s what really helped me to understand the language, its structures and how it works. Without my obsession with The Vampire Diaries (I was 13, okay), I probably wouldn’t be here today, living and studying in the UK.
As easy as it was to watch TV and listen to music when I was learning English, it gets more challenging now. Sure, I study German and Italian at uni, but the fact is that I have less time to indulge myself in TV and there are far less things available in Italian (or German, for that matter) than there are in English. It’s understandable, of course, but frustrating at times. How am I supposed to improve?
Well, there’s always music. And that’s what I want to talk about. Whenever I go grocery shopping, I listen to music. Whenever I go to the library, I listen to music. Whenever I want to avoid people talking to me, I listen to music. So, yes, I listen to music a lot. And if you are anything like me, so do you. Why not listen to foreign music then? You get to improve your language skills and still get all the joy from listening to music. Plus, you look more cultured, which is always great, right?
So, just to make this easier for you, I made a list of my 10 favourite Italian songs that I listen to. Maybe one of those will catch your eye (ear?) and help you get started.
Warning: My taste in music is not for everyone. If you don’t like any of these, try googling something that’s more up your alley.
1) Toto Cutugno – L’italiano
This song is great. It’s fun, addictive and the language in it is quite easy to understand. Everyone I played this song to loves it – my sister even knew it before I showed her, and she doesn’t study Italian at all!
2) Ricchi e Poveri – Sarà perchè ti amo
This song brings me back to my childhood. I still remember being 5 and dancing to this song at this children disco. For some reason, this was very popular in the early 2000s in the Czech Republic. I only discovered it again this year and I can’t stop listening to it. It’s great and nostalgic. What else is there?
Another great song by this band is Mamma Maria, which I also know from my childhood years.
3) Chiara Grispo – Oltre l’orizzonte (Moana)
I am a big fan of listening to Disney music in multiple languages. The lyrics are usually clear and easy to understand, and the songs are amazing. I actually mentioned the German version of this song in the original post, but the Italian one is by far my favourite. Whenever this song plays on the radio, these are the lyrics I will sing. (Because ‘l’acqua segna un confine nascosto’.)
4) Umberto Tozzi – Gloria
Again, I just love this song. Umberto Tozzi has many great songs and I listen to him quite a lot. I was torn between Gloria and Ti amo when making this list but I decided to go with this, mainly because I already mentioned the German version of Ti amo in the original post. I recommend listening to both though. They’re great singing-in-the-shower songs.
5) Al Bano & Romina Power – Felicità
This is the first Italian song I listened to when I started looking for music in the language. I absolutely adore this, and I play it so often that I think my flatmate probably hates it by now.
I have one objection though: as an introvert, I definitely don’t agree with the statement that ‘felicità è una telefonata non aspettata’. That’s not felicità, that’s l’ansia.
6) Eros Ramazzotti – Più bella cosa
This is one of the songs that I discovered through YouTube – I listen to so many Italian songs that this one just popped as a recommendation and I instantly fell in love with it. So much, that it’s not only in my ‘Italian’ playlist on Spotify, but it’s also in my ‘ultimate’ one. And trust me, it’s not easy to get on that.
7) Domenico Modugno – Nel blu dipinto di blu
I found this song last summer when I was driving somewhere with my parents and this started playing on the radio. At first, I was confused – it sounded like Italian, but I had no idea what the lyrics were saying. I immediately googled the song and I’ve been listening to it since then. It’s not the easiest one when it comes to understanding the lyrics, especially if you’re a beginner, but it’s cheerful and it gets better the more you listen to it, trust me.
8) Andrea Bocelli – Vivo per lei
I love this song! I don’t know what it is, but it’s one of the song you hear, and you think it’s okay but then you listen to it again and again and suddenly you found yourself completely mesmerised by it. I definitely recommend listening to this one!
Also, if you like Ed Sheeran, listen to this. It blew my mind and made me cry. (Andrea’s Italian version starts at 2:50.)
9) Paola Repele – Ti vada o no (Hercules)
I am obsessed with this. Again, I love this version more than the original – Italian just goes so well with Disney songs and especially with this one. The language makes it even more romantic and fun. Honestly, this song has been playing on repeat in my room for the last month and I’m not even a little bit sick of it yet.
10) Lorenzo Baglioni – Il congiuntivo
Oh my god, how I hate the subjunctive! I hate is almost as much as I love this song. Really, you need to listen to this and watch the amazing video. I now remember all the stupid forms of the subjunctive and I will forever laugh when the Dante crying picture comes in my mind. This is the best thing anyone’s ever done for my education, I swear.
Okay, so this is the list. I hope you found some inspiration and some songs you like. And remember, to really learn a language, you have to listen to it!