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26 Italian Series on Netflix for Learning Italian (Beginners to Advanced)

Skyrocket your Italian with this list of binge-worthy Italian TV shows and movies for all levels

by Michele
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Italian Series on Netflix for Learning Italian
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Whether you’re looking for travel inspiration, are interested in learning about Italian culture or want to learn Italian faster, consuming listening to Italian music and watching Italian series on Netflix are two of the best things to do.

Watching Italian shows is an effective method to improve your Italian language skills and understand Italians better, as it will expose you to language patterns (Italian pronunciation, rhythm, conversation), Italian idiomatic expressions, dialects, cultural aspects and real-life scenarios.

In this guide, I’m going to show you the advantages of using Netflix for improving your language skills, share some strategies to best benefit from it, as well as provide a list of 26 Italian series on Netflix that will help you improve your Italian skills, no matter what level you are. 

From romantic Italian films to murder mysteries, watching Italian shows on Netflix can not only be entertaining but also a proactive learning experience! From beginners to advanced, here are the most binge-worthy Italian Netflix series. 

Cominciamo (let’s get started)!

How to improve your Italian by watching Italian series on Netflix

Watching TV shows in Italian is a great way to boost your Italian language skills because you’re exposing yourself to everyday spoken Italian. This means you’ll expand your vocabulary and get a good grasp of Italian conversation in real life.

Not only that, Italian movies and series will help you have a better understanding of life in Italy, as they give you an insight into Italian society. It will give you a 360° experience and fully immerse you in the Italian language and its culture.

You don’t need to be an advanced learner to benefit from this either. There are methods and strategies that will help you make the most of this learning experience, even if you’re just starting out as a beginner. In fact, you can benefit from watching movies and series at any stage of the learning process. Here’s how:

  • If you are new to the Italian language, you can watch an Italian film with English subtitles. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand most of it. This method allows you to familiarize yourself with the sounds of the language, pronunciation and speed, thus improving your listening skills.
  • Another way to gradually introduce the Italian language into your learning routine is by watching a show in your native language with Italian subtitles. This strategy is great for picking up words you already know and seeing how they’re spelled and used in contect. Pause the show every once in a while, to look up new words, idiomatic expressions or to study the sentence structure.
  • As a beginner/intermediate learner, if you want to focus on the language more than the plot, you can pre-watch a show in your native language first. It’ll be much easier to follow the story if you already know what’s going to happen. Re-watching a show in Italian will allow you to fill in gaps and words you don’t understand just by looking at the context. This strategy works well with classic and animated movies!
  • As an intermediate/advanced learner, the best way to improve your skills is by watching a show in Italian with Italian subtitles. This method allows you to connect speech with what is written. Trust me, you will remember new words or speech patterns a lot faster because you are listening and reading at the same time.
  • Perhaps the most challenging way to watch a show in Italian as a non-native speaker is by watching it in Italian without subtitles. This is great for pronunciation and listening, not so much for spelling. Having to rely only on your hearing might cause you to lose track of the plot so I only recommend using this strategy when you’re an advanced learner (in which case, get rid of the subtitles and just enjoy the show).
  • Finally, don’t stick to watching original Italian shows only. While it is always better to watch a movie or series in the original version, you might want to consider watching a show dubbed in Italian (which is usually excellent). Not only will you have a greater choice of shows at your disposal, you can also watch your favourite shows while making them educational too. Two birds with one stone!

For more tips, visit my guide with 22 tips on how to use Netflix for language learning.

Below is a comprehensive list of Italian shows (mainly TV series but also some movies) which I’ve broken up into levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced) plus details of their basic storyline. 

Keep in mind that this division is only indicative and that you can always choose to watch a movie with or without subtitles (in Italian or in your native language) to make it easier or more challenging, depending on your needs.

Italian series on Netflix for Beginners

1. Blanca

This series is about a girl named Blanca, who went blind at the age of 12 in a dramatic fire in which she lost her sister Beatrice. This new and irreversible condition, however, does not stop her from pursuing her dream of joining the police force, driven by a strong sense of justice. She manages to get a six-month internship at her hometown police station. She faces many challenges, including winning the trust of her colleagues, which she achieves by using her talent for decoding; the ability to analyze sounds contained in wiretaps that would escape a less trained ear than her own.

2. Luna Park

Luna park is a 2021 drama set in 1960s Rome. The show centers around the story of Nora, a young carnival worker from a family of wandering artists, and Rosa, a girl from wealthy Rome. Thanks to a chance encounter in an amusement park (“luna park” in Italian) the two girls discover that they are united by a special bond. Here, the destinies of several generations alternate and intertwine, in a journey of intrigue and secrets but also of new and unexpected love..

3. Luna Nera

This fantasy series is set in the 17th century in a small village called Torre Rosse. Here lives the protagonist, Adelaide, a 16-year-old midwife who, after the mysterious death of an infant under her care, is accused of witchcraft and sentenced to be burnt at the stake. Forced to flee so as not to be burned alive, Adelaide finds refuge in a community composed of women banished for the same reason. Here she discovers she’s not alone.

4. Generazione 56K

This 2021 Netflix series, set in Rome and Procida, a beautiful and colorful island located off the coast of Naples, is a romantic comedy about a chance meeting that leads Matilda and Daniele, two 30-year-olds, to remember the year they met as teenagers, 1998, the year the Internet changed their lives. The name of the series refers to the fact that at that time the internet was only available via slow modems.

5. Sotto il sole di Riccione

This film debuted on Netflix in 2020 and takes us to the Riviera Romagnola, a place for fun and carefree holidays. While spending summer on the beaches of Riccione, a group of young people befriend each other and help each other deal with hopeless dreams and summer crushes: like Marco, who has always been in love with Guenda but unable to declare his love; or Ciro, who arrives with dreams of making it big as a singer and instead finds himself working as a lifeguard.

6. Incastrati (Framed! A Sicilian murder mystery)

This is a 2022 Italian television series starring popular Italian comedians Ficarra and Picone. Set in the splendid Sicilian landscape, the series follows the (mis)adventures of Valentino and Salvatore, two television technicians who find themselves at the scene of a crime by chance. In order to avoid being prime suspects, they clean up the crime scene and leave it undisturbed, using their knowledge of crime dramas. This leads to a series of hilarious events in their lives.

7. Perfetti sconosciuti

In this 2016 movie, during a dinner among friends, one of the guests proposes a curious game, which the others accept, albeit with some hesitation: everyone must leave their mobile phone on the table so that any messages, emails or phone calls will become public knowledge. But what appeared to be an amusing pastime soon turns into a sequence of misunderstandings, betrayals and other secrets that come to light, unleashing chaos within the house.

8. The Medici: Masters of Florence

Described as one of the best Italian TV series of recent years, I Medici is an Italian-British production. This highly engaging and intriguing historical drama series focuses on the rise and fall of the Medici family, Italy’s most powerful family during the Italian Renaissance, between wars, political intrigues with the Vatican State and struggles to maintain their political and economic supremacy. Attenzione! While this series is in English, I included it as it provides a fascinating insight into the most famous family of the Renaissance. 

Italian series on Netflix for Intermediates

9. Baby

Baby is a Netflix teen drama set in the Parioli district, one of the most exclusive and fashionable areas of contemporary Rome. The series follows the adventures of Chiara, a girl from an elite high school who becomes involved with another girl and is drawn into the world of underage prostitution. The story is inspired by a real scandal that happened in Rome a few years ago.

10. Carlo & Malik

Set in Rome and produced in 2018, Carlo & Malik is a crime drama series that follows the adventures of a veteran detective who is prejudiced against the capital’s large immigrant community. He partners up with an officer originally from the Ivory Coast to solve a series of murder cases in Rome. The series focuses on the theme of immigration, which is a very broad and controversial in contemporary Italy.

11. Guida astrologica per cuori infranti

Based on the best-selling book by Silvia Zucca, this series is about the tragicomic events in the life of Alice Bassi, who, in her early thirties and single (not by choice), works as a production assistant in a small television network. The story develops between astrology, passion, love and weird encounters, like the one with Tio, an actor and astrology guru, soon to become Alice’s personal “astrological guide for broken hearts”.

12. Il commissario Montalbano (Detective Montalbano)

Based on the novels by famous Italian crime writer Andrea Camilleri, this popular TV series follows the life of Salvo Montalbano, police commissioner in the imaginary Sicilian town of Vigata; in each episode he deals with mafia crimes, murders, kidnappings, and the most diverse cases of underworld crime in the Sicilian region. Although it is a TV series, each episode is filmed as a stand-alone TV film linked to the others by a sort of horizontal plot.

13. Il giovane Montalbano (The young Montalbano)

This is the prequel to the Detective Montalbano series. Set in the early 1990s in the beautiful Sicilian town of Vigata, we follow the vicissitudes of the young Montalbano at the beginning of his career.

14. Liberi sognatori (Ordinary heroes)

Liberi sognatori is a miniseries of episodes about ordinary heroes who had an extraordinary life: four important and courageous Italian personalities, who lived between the 1970s and 1990s, who sacrificed their lives in the name of civic duty. They are businessman Libero Grassi from Palermo, councilor Renata Forte, journalist Mario Francese and police officer Emanuela Loi.

15. Summertime

The protagonists of the series are Summer and Ale, two teenagers with opposite lifestyles. Summer is an introverted girl, she hates summer and this is one of the reasons why she works instead of relaxing after a year at school. Alessandro is from Rome, a professional motorbike racer, in eternal conflict with his father. In the seaside town of Cesenatico in Emilia-Romagna, Ale falls in love with Summer, winning her over, but their relationship is put to the test by distance, summer lightness and carefree age.

16. Benvenuti al Sud

This hilarious comedy of 2010 uses irony to highlight the stereotypes that still exist in the South of Italy. Alberto Colombo, a post office manager located in Brianza, near Milan, pretends to be disabled to get a promotion at work, but his deception is soon discovered and, as a punishment, he is transferred to manage a post office in Castellabate, near Naples. Initially desperate and distrustful of his new colleagues from the south, Alberto is forced to reconsider his prejudices during his time there.

17. Chiedimi se sono felice

Three friends with unsatisfying jobs have a dream: to put on their own theatre show. This leads to a sequence of tragicomic events that drive the three friends apart for three years. This 2000 comedy talks about friendship, love, betrayal, pride and forgiveness. This film will make you laugh, but also provides introspection on human relationships. Amid laughter, hilarious moments, romance and drama, it reflects on how easy it is to ruin a friendship for love.

Italian series on Netflix for Advanced learners 

18. L’amica geniale (My brilliant friend)

Inspired by the wildly successful books of the same name (by Elena Ferrante), the series tells of the special bond that unites Elena “Lenù” Greco and Raffaella “Lila” Cerullo, two girls living in a neighborhood of Naples in the 1950s. Lila and Lenù grow up together, going through joys and sorrows. Lila faces life as a married woman, where she is met with violence, fatigue, and humiliation. Lenù manages to continue her studies, moving further and further away from the neighborhood until she graduates and builds a family of her own.

19. Suburra: Blood on Rome

Based on a real political scandal, this series reflects on the dark side of Italy driven by a quest for power. It follows several Mafia gangs whose interests are intertwined with corrupt politicians and the clergy of the Vatican.

The dialogues in this series can be quite challenging to follow for non-native speakers, as the main characters of Suburra are shady criminals from the Roman suburbs, who use a thick Romanesco dialect and other slang.

20. Il nome della rosa (The name of the rose)

“The name of the rose” is an interpretation of Umberto Eco’s novel, one of the masterpieces of Italian literature, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. In the 14th century, a friar and his young apprentice solve the intricate tangle of a series of mysterious murders in a majestic and solitary abbey. The cinematographic transposition of the novel preserves its dark and esoteric atmosphere.

21. Il processo (The trial)

Fans of murder mysteries and crime thrillers will not be disappointed with this series. A 17-year-old girl, Angelica, is murdered and her body is found on the riverbed in the town of Mantua. The chief investigator, Elena, finds herself embroiled in a situation where evidence linking her to the case could jeopardize her career, but she takes the case against all common sense. The Trial is a story of betrayal, secrets, justice and guilt.

22. Curon

After 17 years, a woman has just returned to her hometown, Curon Venosta, with her teenage twins. When she mysteriously disappears, her children embark on a journey that will lead them to unravel the secrets behind the apparent tranquility of the village and confront a side of their family they didn’t know about. They discover that you can escape from your past, but not from yourself. Set in South Tyrol, on the border with Austria and Switzerland, this is a must-see film for fans of the supernatural/horror genre.

23. Gomorra

Inspired by Roberto Saviano’s bestseller of the same name, the series, which develops over five seasons, takes us into the world of the Camorra mafia organization in the Naples area. It follows the stories of criminal actions by drug dealers and members of criminal organizations with connections in the world of business and politics. It focuses heavily on the Savastano clan, under the command of Pietro, a boss feared and respected by all, and one of the most powerful and influential in the area.

24. È stata la mano di Dio

È stato la Mano di Dio is an autobiographical film by box-office champion Paolo Sorrentino. It was presented at the 78th Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Silver Lion. The main character is Fabietto, a teenager in the 1980s who is attached to his family and lives with the enthusiasms and frailties typical of his age.

Just when everything seems to be going well, the sudden death of his parents forces Fabietto to come to terms with the loneliness of someone who does not yet have his place in the world and who unexpectedly finds himself with a tragic and sudden freedom.

25. Boris

Boris is an Italian TV series that aired on TVVbetween 2007 and 2010 and is now available on Netflix. Alessandro is a young man eager to enter show business and seems to realize his dream when he is taken on as an intern for a TV production of a low-budget drama, the cheesy soap Gli Occhi del Cuore 2. Alessandro soon discovers that the world of television is very different from what he thought. The series tells the story of the crazy TV crew’s misadventures and shows how the race for money and success often affects the quality of what we see on TV.

26. Mediterraneo

Mediterraneo is a 1991 film set during the Second World War. Between adventures and tribulations, eight soldiers of the Royal Italian Army exhausted by the fighting, end up on an idyllic Greek island in 1941 (where they remain until the winter of 1943, forgetting the ongoing events of the war). After gaining the trust of the locals, they become part of the community. This film is about male friendships, the desire to escape, and the difficulties of growing up. In 1992, the film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Access more Italian content with NordVPN

One of the best ways to learn Italian is by accessing online content from national broadcasting sites around the world. Sites Rai Italia and Rai Play in Italy can sometimes restrict who can access their online content such as series, movies or documentaries. 

The best and only way to unlock and access content around the world is by using a VPN  (Virtual Private Network service provider). This also gives you an extra layer of safety as you surf the internet as it protects your IP address (ie. your actual location). It’s best practice to always use a VPN anyway, so it’s a great investment to make. The best VPN on the market is NordVPN which you can use on your desktop, tablet or smartphone. Sign up to NordVPN here and get 3 months free.

By using NordVPN you can log into Italian Netflix, which will give you access to even more Italian shows and films. To learn more, check out my guide on how to use a VPN for language learning. 

Final thoughts

After watching these shows, I hope they will inspire your next visit to the Bel Paese. After all, since the beginning, Italian film productions have been focused on showing the architectural beauty of Italy: the earliest Italian productions were mainly characterized by a few historical documentaries about emperors, popes and famous Italian rulers or simple views of city squares and streets. But the heyday of Italian cinema emerged from the ashes after World War II with Neorealism and, later, with art-house cinema and Italian-style comedy. In short, there is a long tradition to be explored and discovered, while also improving your Italian language skills.

Buona visione! (Enjoy the show)

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