Learn Italian while watching TV

Some tips to improve your Italian by watching The Trial and other TV series

Have you always dreamt of learning Italian by watching TV? Do you remember what we told you about immersion? Watching a TV show in Italian will help you boost your linguistic skills if you know how to do it.

How to learn Italian with TV series

watch tv series
Choose a title and learn Italian with our tips

If you are a beginner, try watching a scene or an episode in Italian with English subtitles. You aren’t cheating, you’re learning – and, hopefully, enjoying the show. This will allow you to get familiar with the language and understand what’s going on. Real beginners should also consider cartoons as valuable educational tools: the language tends to be easier and episodes are usually shorter than those of a TV series, which makes the feat of listening to a foreign language less overwhelming while boosting your motivation. If you feel more confident or you have already watched the episode with English subtitles, set subtitles to Italian to connect spoken and written form, and write down some interesting words and expressions you’d like to remember. If you find some words you don’t know, look them up in a dictionary after trying to guess their meaning from the context, and write them down adding a definition or translation, accompanied by the whole sentence to remember how they are actually used. After going through these two steps and as your Italian skills advance, try watching the show without subtitles and celebrate your progress!

Extra tip: you can improve your reading skills by reading Italian reviews of your favourite series.

Il processo – The Trial

Mantova by day
The Trial is set in Mantua, Northern Italy

We have discovered that many of you are enjoying The Trial, the first Italian legal drama available on Netflix. We recommend this to intermediate and beginner learners alike, because the formality of the setting makes the dialogue’s pace easier to follow and reduces to zero the use of slang or dialects. For those who haven’t watched it yet, The Trial revolves around the murder of a 17-year-old girl investigated by prosecutor Elena Guerra, a strong female character connected to the victim.

Basic legal vocabulary

Let’s learn some italiano giuridico

Although we suggest that you build your own glossary as you watch The Trial to make it relevant to you, here you can find some inspiration to get started. Since alphabetical order may not be the best strategy when trying to learn new words, create meaningful associations that work for you (synonyms, antonyms, word clusters, etc.).

processo: trial

tribunale: court

sentenza, verdetto: judgement, verdict

legge: law

giustizia: justice

legale: legal

illegale: illegal

diritto: right

dovere: duty

colpevole: guilty

innocente: innocent

assolvere: to absolve

condannare: to convict

arrestare: to arrest

scarcerare: to release

carcere: prison

reato: crime

scena del crimine: crime scene

indagine: investigation

omicidio: murder

assassino: murderer

vittima: victim

avvocato, legale: advocate, attorney, barrister, lawyer

pubblico ministero: prosecutor

giudice: judge

toga: robe, gown

imputato: defendant

testimone: witness

complice: accomplice

accusa: prosecution

difesa: defence

patteggiare: to plea bargain

fare ricorso: to appeal


Are you a fan of Italian TV series? Check out our article on My Brilliant Friend and join the course!

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