A pink and blue sky over a seaside Italian town.

"You may have the universe if I may have Italy" — Giuseppe Verdi

Did you know that the language of Dante Alighieri is the most studied in the world after English, French, and Spanish? It surpasses Chinese, Japanese, and German! La bella lingua has lots of supporters and lovers in every corner of the world.

But why do so many people want to study Italian? Because Italian is more than a language — it is a way of thinking and living.

Italian Gives You Access to One of the Richest Cultural Traditions of Western Civilization

Italians walking through a town at night. Think of Roman civilization, the Renaissance, opera, art, films, fashion, design, and cuisine; some of the most remarkable cultural works in the entire world were produced by Italians. Italian’s musicality enchants the ear and the heart. Opera was born in the Italian language, so singers need to be fluent in Italian to sing most operas. Italian food is known throughout the world, as well as its arts, architecture, and design. All of them use words and phrases that are Italian or have Italian roots.

If you know Italian you will be able to read the original version of one of the world's literary masterpieces, Dante's Divine Comedy. Last but not least, according to UNESCO (the cultural and educational agency for the United Nations), most of the world's cultural heritage sites are in Italy.

Italian is Important in Many Career Fields

A classic green fiat. Italy is a world leader in culinary arts, machine tool manufacturing, interior design, fashion, electromechanical machinery, shipbuilding, construction machinery, and tourism. Many employers seek people who speak both Italian and English. About 7,500 American companies do business with Italy, and more than a thousand US firms have offices in Italy (IBM, Citybank, Motorola, General Electric, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, just to name a few).

Students who speak Italian can pursue careers in business, computer programming and web design, law, public relations, journalism, telecommunications, arts administration, publishing, library science, politics, public and environmental affairs, government, diplomacy, trade, and the military.

Learning Another Language Stimulates Your Intellect

An Italian church. By studying Italian you will find out unexpected things about your own culture and learn to think critically about language usage — thereby improving your writing and speaking skills in English as well. Immersion in a foreign culture can open new paths of self-exploration and personal growth, enhancing your skills in analyzing, discussing, and categorizing information and ideas.

Want to know more?

Still looking for your own reason to study Italian? Contact Giuliana Russo Skinner at giuliana@uab.edu.