Rosetta Stone Review - Learning Italian Naturally


The iconic Rosetta Stone TOTALe box

I have wanted to learn Italian for the last five years but just couldn't find the right fit. Then I discovered Rosetta Stone TOTALe. It's captivating.


My personal, highly opinionated tour of Italiano TOTALe.
First of all, I should probably confess that I thought this would be easy.  I studied Latin for three years and French for seven.  How hard could it be?  For the record, it wasn’t hard at all.  But learning a language naturally, i.e. like a child who is learning his or her native language, requires a level of concentration that is not like any other kind of instruction I have ever known.  That’s actually the beauty part.

TOTALe home screen

Once I started the Rosetta Course, I was so completely engaged and engrossed, it was like watching a totally involving movie or maybe even a swimmer’s high--it's that good.  I was off in a zone.  And when my session was over—no matter how well I did—I felt relaxed, satisfied and content. Some days were better than others—at the beginning, my scores we all over the map from 50% to 100%!—but the overall experience was absolutely positive and I always felt I was making important strides.


A typical screen in Rosetta COURSE

Rosetta Course
From the start, I was learning to speak, listen, read and write—all without translation or memorization. Before I knew it, I was thinking in a new language by connecting words with pictures in real-life contexts to convey meaning. I went from the unknown to the known in a clever sequence that kept me thinking, questioning and discovering with plenty of Aha! moments sprinkled in. The Rosetta Course kept track of my progress along the way and displayed my scores after each exercise. For anywhere/anytime practice, I could also load the Audio Companion on an iPod, MP3 player or just play the CDs.

A Rosetta STUDIO screen. See the image of the coach in the left corner? She's live and online.

Rosetta Studio™
Ok, so I was on a roll. That meant it was time for me to proceed to the next level, Rosetta Studio.  Gulp. Here I was expected to practice my speaking skills with a native-speaking Studio Coach—mine was the beautiful and charming Giullianna—and other learners at my level in a real-time, interactive online environment.

Our conversation built my confidence for our coming real-world interaction, our trip to Florence. I can’t say I was cock-sure of myself, but I had a sense of what it would be like to “carry on a conversation.”  Nah.  Make that bumble through a conversation.  For example, when we went to the post office to send our postcards, we had a laughter-filled conversation/game of charades trying to find the location of the drop box. 

We also took a day trip to the Tuscan countryside including San Gimignano, Siena, and Chianti. Sometimes we got free stuff because the restaurateurs or shopkeepers were so delighted that we spoke Italian.  Sometimes we just got excellent service. But we’d still be stuck in the Rome airport if I didn’t know enough Italian to get us on a train to Florence and to our hotel. Was our trip a duel with menacing volcanic ash or did a great vacation erupt?  To read that story, click here.

The Home screen of Rosetta WORLD

Rosetta World®
Onto the next level, Rosetta World® where I was invited to play and practice skills designed specifically for my learning level. Now I could interact through games as a way to refine and build confidence.

One of the games you can play in Rosetta WORLD

Not so fast. Although I was doing well now—my scores were on the high 80 and 90 percent level, it still wasn’t the least “easy.” But, again, with a high level of concentration, I felt I was moving along at a nice pace.

Customer Success Team
At one point I just felt the need to be grounded. So I contacted the Customer Success Team and the next day, received a personal call with answers to all my questions. And when I had technical questions, I just clicked a button on the screen (I bought a new computer and there was a transition issues) and was immediately in a chat with a capable technician. 

A Footnote
The historical Rosetta Stone is preserved in the British Museum.

The historic Rosetta stone now in the British Museum.

A black, possibly basalt slab with three languages on it ( Greek, demotic and hieroglyphs), provided the key to Egyptian hieroglyphics. Today, the Rosetta Stone has become a metaphor for just about anything that unlocks a mystery.  Makes sense to me.  The Rosetta Stone certainly provided the key to Italian for me. Molto Grazie, Rosetta Stone!

Rosetta Stone TOTALe is available now only at for a twelve month subscription at the introductory price of $999, regularly priced at $1199. Rosetta Stone TOTALe is currently only available to customers in the United States and Canada and will be introduced globally at a later date.
About Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone Inc. is changing the way the world learns languages. Rosetta Stone provides interactive solutions that are acclaimed for the power to unlock the natural language-learning ability in everyone. Available in more than 30 languages, Rosetta Stone language-learning solutions are used by schools, organizations and millions of individuals in over 150 countries throughout the world. The company was founded in 1992 on the core beliefs that learning a language should be natural and instinctive and that interactive technology can replicate and activate the immersion method powerfully for learners of any age. The company is based in Arlington, Va. For more information, visit
Rosetta Stone” and “ Rosetta World” are registered trademarks of Rosetta Stone Ltd.


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