Learn the Italian language

Learning Italian is very important if you live in Italy. Knowing the language well makes the job search easier, it allows you to talk to people, understand the doctor, and ask for what you need. Read our tips to improve the knowledge of the language and practice.

Understanding what people are saying and talking to them is very important when living in a country different from the birthplace. Learning a new language is never easy, especially for adults who don’t have much time to study. But always remember that it is one of the first things you need to do when you arrive in a new country. Knowing Italian will help you find a job, understand what is happening around you, talk to a doctor, or enroll your children in school.

L’italiano L2 or Italiano lingua seconda is a name used to indicate the Italian that a foreigner learns directly by living in Italy.

You can know Italian very well or maybe you can just say a few sentences. There are many levels based on the ability to speak, listen, read, and write in Italian. The levels that are officially recognized in Italy are:

    1. elementary level A1: you can understand people a little if they speak slowly and say simple sentences. You can read a bit, but you don’t write well;
    2. elementary level A2: you can understand a bit when people speak in Italian and comprehend even more difficult phrases. You can read and write simple sentences.
    3. intermediate level B1: you can speak well with people. You understand when they speak to you and you can write and read texts.
    4. intermediate level B2: You can communicate with people well, even when they speak quickly. You can express articulate sentences and explain well what you are saying. You can read and write texts, even long ones.
    5. advanced level C1: you can speak Italian well and easily understand what people are saying to you. You can write and read by yourself.
    6. advanced level C2: your knowledge of Italian is very high. You are independent in the use of the language both at work and in your daily life.

In Italy you can find many free Italian courses, both in the larger cities and in the smaller ones. in the reception centers or in the SPRAR also there are Italian language courses.

You can attend classes at the Centri Provinciali d’Istruzione per Adulti (CPIA) in your city. All people over 16 can participate and the lessons are free. When you finish, you will receive a certificate that you can submit for your residence permit, or permesso di soggiorno.

There are also many associations that offer free Italian courses for immigrants. There are also private schools, but there is a fee as they are not free.

Don’t worry if you can’t read and write well. There are courses that are also designed for people who are illiterate, who have never studied in their country of origin, and who cannot read and write. Remember to explain your situation to the teachers before starting classes.

For free Italian courses, visit the following website:

Also, if you want to find a free school in your city you can also search on google, by writing:

  • Corsi italiano per migranti + the name of your city (ex. Corsi di italiano per migranti Torino)
  • CPIA + the name of your city (ex. CPIA Milano)

Language certification is a document that establishes the level of knowledge of a language. This document is issued by a recognized organization called Ente Certificatore. The ente certificatore can be a school, a university, or a private center that is authorized by the state to verify the level of knowledge of the language and issue certificates.

Language certification is a very useful document because it officially recognizes the knowledge of the language and the ability of a person to understand and speak Italian.

There are four main certifications of Italian L2, and they have different names because they are issued by different organizations:

  • CILS – Certificazione Italiano come lingua straniera
  • PLIDA – Progetto Lingua Italiana Dante Alighieri
  • IT Certificazione Italiano
  • CELICertificati di Italiano Generale

To have these certifications you must take an exam. The exam can be done in many authorized schools or associations.

It is not mandatory to have the language certification but remember that to request some documents or for some particular jobs, the certification is necessary.

The Italian language test is for foreigners who have been in Italy for more than 5 years and who want to apply for a permesso di soggiorno CE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo. If you want to obtain this permesso , you must demonstrate that you know Italian at an average level.

If you do not have a language certification or have not taken an Italian course at a Centro di Istruzione per Adulti (CPIA), you will need to take a test that you can book on the website of the Ministry of the Interior.

You do not have to take the test if:

  • You already have a language certification equal to level A2 or a higher level issued by a recognized organization (ente certificatore);
  • You have attended an Italian course at a Centro di Istruzione per Adulti (CPIA) and you have obtained a certificate of at least level A2;
  • You have graduated and have a diploma of scuola secondaria (media or superiore) in Italy or you attend university

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