i nostri siti | our sites:
Parola del Giorno | ILGUR | Italy in Literature

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Addendum (11 October 2011): Podcaster has been updated again, and the new look is pretty cool.  I use this app every day to listen to podcasts from Radio 24, Rai and other online sites to help practicing my Italian listening skills.  If you are looking for podcast suggestions, just check out some of the other posts on this blog.  The app also has a database that you can search, or you can simply input the feeds of your favorite podcasts and follow them with this app.  Hoping for an iPad version, soon.  Regardless, this app is an excellent tool for connecting with Italian audio content!  

--Original Review from June 16th--Anyone who follows my blog regularly knows how much of a proponent I am for listening to podcasts of Italian shows and programs to improve one's language skills. It's important to listen to Italian along with reading, writing and speaking, but, for those of us who can't get to Italy often or who don't have Italian friends with whom we can talk, we have to rely on more creative solutions.

Listening to spoken Italian is a great way to train your ear for the "real thing" -- last year when I went to Italy for a month, I was amazed at how well I could understand Italian from strangers. Listening to Italian podcasts can help prepare you for the speed that Italians use their language.

One such app is called Rss Player (it's been renamed Podcaster for a while now -- check out their web site)- they have a blog, and you can read about their app with links to purchasing the app in the Itunes store. They have developed a very useful program that allows you to stream and download podcasts through the device without having to sync up to Itunes. They've also created a listing of podcasts, and many of the podcasts that I've discussed here in the past are listed. If it is not listed, there's a way to add the RSS feed, too. The app has received some complaints about crashing and not working, but I've used the app for the past week, and it has not crashed once, works great, functions as it says. I find the app very useful and versatile, and I use the app to listen to Italian podcasts on my way to my Italian conversation class to get my ear ready!

Another reason that many people like this app is that it allows you to download without using Itunes, and there's no limit on how much or how long you can listen, no download limit, and you're not limited by the Apple servers. The app interacts directly with the servers where the podcasts are hosted. (FYI - if you don't have unlimited data usage, you might want to restrict your downloading to when you're on a wi-fi network. The app can be configured to work over wi-fi or wi-fi and cellular).

If you use the app, leave a comment and let me know what you think of it. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Parola del Giorno iPhone App Available in iTunes

Ciao a tutti!

Our App is now on sale -- The app costs $0.99.  Click the widget on the left to download it.  The app has also has a special design for iPads so you do not get that pixelated/miniature version of the app on the larger screen.

UPDATE: The first bug fix has been submitted and was approved on 18 December 2010. If you’ve downloaded the app, please download the update. I have reduced the number of posts that display to seven because several users complained that the app was slow. Perhaps having 30 display was just too much. Over the coming days, I will tinker with the number. I will see about getting 14 days (two weeks) worth of posts visible on the app. For now, please enjoy the seven that are available!

ALSO: I have noticed that the button to tap to play the word sometimes requires more than one tap in the iPhone/iPod Touch version. We are looking into this, too.

There are no bugs so far in the iPad version and seems to be the more stable version.

Next year I hope to unveil an Android version, too! Stay tuned for more details!

Our app is a great way to improve your Italian vocabulary while also listening to the pronunciation of the words while seeing the words also used in their context. This makes new words easier to remember!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mr. Kilowatt & Radio 24

Sorry for not blogging recently, but things have been hectic.  In the past few months, I have run across some more great listening resources.  I just want to remind readers that listening every day to Italian is important.

When learning a language, it helps to do a little something each day, even if it just ten to fifteen minutes each day!  Try to apply that same concept to your listening comprehension!  Just remember, it's not important to understand each and every single word being spoken, but to understand the sense of what is being said.

On that note, I think that the Radio 24 program, Mr. Kilowatt, is a great program to practice with because 1) it's short in duration, between 10-15 minutes 2) it talks about energy and how it affects our lives, the environment, political influences and more.  This is a program that discusses themes that are relevant to each of our lives as the world strives to find renewable and sustainable sources of energy.  As we all know, this is difficult in the current political climate on our planet!  Although it may not be a topic that is of interest to everyone, the words used should be familiar as it is an argument and topic that is hard not to know about.

The show airs Monday through Friday on Radio 24 at 9:00 PM (21:00).  You can listen to it live or following the program through podcasts!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

INGV YouTube Channel

INGV is the Italian institute for geophysics and vulcanology, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, and they monitor seismic and geophysical events all over Italy. If you're a fan of science like I am (I enjoy reading about geology and volcanoes), you might find many of their short videos interesting to watch which you can view on YouTube by visiting their channel.  These great videos for learning about seismic activity in Italy as well as learning new words and phrases related to geology and earthquakes.

They also track earthquakes in Italy, and it's no surprise that there are at least a few each day in and around the country.  Check out their YouTube channel and web site.  They also have a friend iPhone app that relays all the seismic activity in Italy - letting you know where and when earthquakes have taken place and their magnitude.

La Scala Richter = Richter scale

Monday, May 2, 2011


BellItalia is a program produced by TGR (part of Rai) that explores the culture of Italy by going to cities, town and museums across the country (the episode above is from 2010 and is a portion of the episode which discusses the town of Vigevano).  Each episode discusses a different city or museum, and there are often discussions of festivals, culture and other cultural happenings around the country.

I like this program because the segments are short (between 8 to 10 minutes each), and this is an optimal amount of time to practice your listening skills while learning about new places in Italy that you might not see on your normal trip to the country!

Divertiti! (Enjoy!)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Corriere TV: Spotlight

Another quick video stream to watch online is Corriere TV's Spotlight, a short video segment where a famous person is interviewed and asked a series of questions. The interviewer is not seen and only the responses to the questions is heard. It's a sort of conversation without the conversation, so to speak.  There are several of these interviews with various people in Italian politics, film, literature, etc.  They are a great way to connect with important and influential people in Italy and hear their thoughts.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Corriere TV: 3 minuti 1 parola

A very entertaining program on Corriere TV called Tre minuti una parola that looks at a particular word in Italian and explains how it is used, its history and some linguistics when it is relevant.  The show is down with animation and graphics which often helps to explain what Beppe Severgnini is saying, so if you're having trouble following the conversation, just watch the images, and you'll find that it is easier to understand what he is saying.

This is one of my favorite programs, and you are bound to enjoy it!

Not only will you find the program entertaining, but I am sure you will learn a new word or two!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rai 3: Cosmo

Learning Italian when it is paired with current events is a great way to learn and improve the language.  A new program on Rai 3, Cosmo with Barbara Serra, is a great way to improve your Italian and learn about the world around you.  Many of you many be familiar with Barbara Serra, who, since 2006, has been the face of Al Jazeera English in London  (She also hosted the Street Food episode on Palermo).  This show is unique in that all of the correspondents are women and includes the reporting of Elisabetta Curzel, Alessandra Viola and Silvia Bencivelli.

Cosmo is an investigative program that looks at issues in our world, such as privacy and nuclear energy, explains the issue or problem by interviewing experts from around the world.  The most recent episode on April 17th focused on nuclear weapons and the arms race.  The great thing about this kind of format is that you have an established context that can help you understand what you are hearing and learn about the world around from an Italian perspective.

Each episode is about an hour in length, and I found myself enthralled through each episode.  The format of the shows make use of special effects, computer models and other tools to help explain the science.  For example, on the most recent program about nuclear weapons, they created computer simulations about what might happen if Rome were bombed by an atomic weapon and the kind of damage that it would have on the city and people who remained.

The shows airs every Sunday at 11:35 PM, but repeats of the episodes can be watched again on

Monday, March 7, 2011

Corriere TV

A while back I mentioned Corriere TV as a resource of listening and practicing your Italian because many of their videos are shorter in length, informative and easy to follow.  If you're a fan of Facebook, you can now follow their new page, Corriere TV, and watch videos from your Facebook page without having to leave Facebook.

Of course, if you're not a fan of Facebook or you do not use it, you can still visit the site directly to watch their video content.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Parola del Giorno App!

Our app, Parola del Giorno, is now on sale in the App Store.  Download it to your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad today!  The app costs only $0.99, but it is a great way to learn new words, hear them pronounced and increase your Italian vocabulary!

Screenshot of the app

Friday, March 4, 2011

Antefatto -- The YouTube Channel for Il Fatto Quotidiano

Ciao a tutti!

It's been a while since I updated this blog, so I want to spend the next few days alerting you to some great resources for listening and practicing your Italian language skills.

Having said that, I want to remind you of the power of YouTube!  There is a lot of content online that you can use to practice your Italian.  A friend of mine uses it to watch Italian movie trailers and the occasional movie that is posted online at YouTube.  Another likes to follow blogs and video blogs of various Italians online.  I want to bring your attention to Antefatto, the YouTube channel for Il Fatto Quotidiano.

Il Fatto Quotidiano is one of the few news sources in Italy that isn't controlled by the Italian government or run by Berlusconi's media empire or his family.  It is extremely independent, receives no government support and is sustained by its readers.  This video channel on YouTube has interviews with some interesting characters as well as video stories on things going on in Italy -- a superb way to practice your Italian while at the same time learning about what's happening in Italy from a news source that is reliable.

It's no secret that the Italian press, particularly RAI, Berlusconi's TV/media units, often does not cover controversial figures or controversial events in Italy.  But with Il Fatto Quotidiano, you hear from voices that you might not get to hear from while at the same time improving your comprehension skills.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Radio 24 Iphone App Update and More News

Felice nuovo anno a tutti! | Happy New Year to everyone!

Many of you who read my blog always send me nice emails or leave comments about certain apps, so I just wanted to say that the app for Radio 24 has been updated (finally!).  You can now listen to their podcasts directly from the app!

Just do a search in the app store for "Radio 24" or click here to go to their Itunes page.  Their app is currently free.

I recommend this radio station because they have a large number of radio programs on various topics, and it is always a great way to build your vocabulary by listening to shows about various topics, even those that you might avoid in your native language (for example, I don't read/listen to sports news much, but I try to do more of that in Italian).

Another app that I just recently discovered thanks to iPhone Italia is the free iPhone/iPad app for Sky News 24.  The first thirty days that you download the app, you can watch live and streaming over your phone this channel.  Currently, you can watch free from your PC, but if you're away from your PC and want to watch the news or find out what is going on in Italy at any given moment, this is a cool app.  After 30 days, a subscription (in app purchase) is required before you can stream.  A monthly subscription costs $1.99 and the price decreases per month if you purchase a yearly subscription.  Check the app for the latest in app prices.

Also, TG1 and TG3, which deliver TV news and are part of Rai, also have apps for the iPhone.  Users have reported that these apps do not work well, but they appear to work fine on my iPhone.  Check them out and see for yourself.

Before closing, I just want to address a message I received a few weeks ago.  I am sorry if I do not talk about apps for other devices.  Since I do not have any other kind of phone, it is hard for me to comment on them.  I apologize for the Apple centricness of my blog, and I will do better to promote listening resources that do not require an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.   As always, if you know of an online resource that I should profile, please let me know!