How to Learn Italian with Comics - Part 3

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Finding effective language learning materials is mandatory for any successful language learner. In the third and final part of this series I'm going to suggest Italian comics for advanced learners and specific comics for Italian language learners.


Corto Maltese

Corto Maltese is a sea captain adventuring during the early 20th century. The comic is widely renowned as the most literary graphic novel ever written. The main character is “a ruffian with a heart of gold” and plots are intriguing because they are woven together with real historical facts and imagination.

The language is well refined but what increases the difficulty of the literacy level is the context. The reader needs to know some history and literature to capture the deep sense of the story. As in the case of Dylan Dog, Corto Maltese is included with two episodes (“Dii altri Romei e di altre Giuliette” and “La laguna dei bei sogni”) in the Edilingua series “Imparare l’Italiano con i fumetti”. You can buy a book with the original text and a lot of explanations and activities on Amazon or on the website of Edilingua. You can also download for free audio track and glossary on this website (Materiali per studenti – Imparare L’italiano con i fumetti – audio or glossari and then you can choose what comics book).


Zero Calcare


It’s impossible not to mention Zero Calcare, as this is the most important Italian comic phenomenon of the last few years: from his successful blog to over 100.000 copies sold. These comics strips are a kind of biographical pieces where an angry young man analyses the contradictions of modern life.

To read Zero Calcare you need to be at a very advanced level both for grammatical structures (the dialogues are full of wordplay and cultural references) and ofthe knowledge of modern Italian society.

Specific for Italian Learning

This list isn’t exhaustive, but I’ve just tried to offer you a range of publications that can help you in learning Italian. For this reason, I would suggest to read a series of books published by Almaedizioni:

L’Italiano con i fumetti

Here, you can find 5 comics stories (Roma 2050, Una storia Italiana, Il Mistero di Casanova, Rigoletto, Habemus Papam) with practice activities for different levels of linguistic competence. Each volume presents strips, exercises and solutions. In addition, on the website there is also an animated version with different episodes so that you can  practice your listening comprehension.

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These comics are not authentic stuff, but stories written for Italian language learners. So, in some respects they might lack authenticity, in others they represent a great opportunity  for guided reading.

In conclusion, I can only wish you a good reading! Enjoy the Italian comics you prefer.