I make a living teaching English to international students. I think I know the best way to learn a language. I give them advice all the time. With rusty French and hardly any Italian except a burning desire to learn, I'm feeling a little hypocritical.
I studied Italian for about a year at the university and even studied there in 2005, but I have nothing to show for it. Granted that was 10 years ago, but I agree with Mark Twain that schooling should never get in the way of your education. My best language learning always happened outside of the classroom, usually around the dinner table or over coffee.
I don't have many opportunities to speak Italian with natives at the moment, but I can still practice speaking by listening and repeating songs or news, etc. That's what Giuliana Rancic did to learn English when she moved to America from Italy when she was seven.
On a total side note, I absolutely love this hilarious video clip from Giuliana & Bill. I love the way Mamma DePandi says, "BILL-AH!" I love how all Italians have the SAME accent in English. This is exactly how my Italian friend asked for the "BILL-AH" at the restaurant!
Anyway, back to studying Italian. The internet, particularly YouTube, makes learning a language SO easy. ItalianPod101 has some GREAT videos. I particularly like the listening comprehension ones because you can listen first without subtitles while looking at pictures, see what you understand, and then listen again with subtitles. Then there's a comprehension check at the end. Perfect for using Giuliana's listen and repeat method of learning to speak.0