Last updated: 2 years, 4 months ago

Studying Italian is an opportunity to learn the language alongside the works of both past and recent authors, as well as Italian cinema and art.

Application Resources

Here are some general resources related to Italian. These should be a useful introduction, regardless of which Italian related course you’re interested in and where you might want to study it.


Grammar textbook suggestions 🔗 🌟 The “How do I prepare for the first year at Oxford?” section of this webpage has a list of good grammar books recommended by the department


These are a few introductory books which you may find interesting/useful in terms of getting to grips with a period of literature, particular authors and so on. If you come across an author or period which particular interests you, do some further research on it - a quick Google search or look at the sources referenced in the original text. This process of self-motivated and self-guided research is great preparation for life as a student.

‘Short Stories in Italian’ edited by Nick Roberts - This collection of nine Italian short stories by various literary authors including Buzzati, Calivino and Ginzburg, have facing-page English translations. These are a great way for beginners to build vocabulary and fluency quickly.

‘Italian Literature: A Very Short Introduction’ by Peter Hainsworth - A particularly useful resource as a beginner’s introduction to Italian literature. This might be a useful springboard into a certain period of literature which particularly interests you.

Project Gutenberg 🔗 🌟 A massive online library containing thousands of e-books - this can be particularly good for finding some of the set texts on the course, texts on preparatory reading lists or anything you have uncovered in introductory texts.


These news websites are useful in immersing yourself in real language use by Italian speakers, as well as learning about Italian events, politics, and culture. Take notes and follow up on any vocab you don’t understand. This is great for your language skills, and may come in useful when you come to write your personal statement.

Republica 🔗
Corriere 🔗
Lastampa 🔗


Watching videos or films in your target language is a great way to immerse yourself in it. Use English subtitles if you feel it necessary, or alternatively Italian subtitles if you can read and understand it well but struggle with the speed or accent.

Italian post-war film is a whole genre in itself so try, for example:
‘La Dolce Vita’
‘The Bicycle Thief’
‘Rome, Open City’


If you are applying for beginners Italian, using Duolingo 🔗 or Babbel 🔗 to give you a really basic grounding in the language is a good idea.

Our Top Tip

Read literature either in the original language if you are already studying Italian, or in translation if you’re going to start learning from scratch!