Where can I watch Italian soap operas?


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Italian soap operas, or simply soap in Italian, are in ever more demand, both in Italy and abroad. There are a variety of mediums available for you to enjoy them in, with the most obvious being on television. Watching them can be a great way to get a feel for Italian culture as well as good practice in expanding your Italian vocabulary and conversational skills.

Watching soaps on Italian television

In Italy, the main producers of soap operas are the RAI and Mediaset networks, and recognizable Italian soaps such as Vivere, Agrodolce, or Centovetrine are available to watch free to air. None of these productions have been exported abroad however, so if you're not located in Italy, you may require satellite or cable subscription that will allow you access to specialist channels. For satellite, your dish must be aiming at the Hot Bird 2 satellite which is located at 13.0°E. This will allow you access to a host of Italian TV channels.

Watching Italian soaps via the internet

If watching Italian soap operas via television is not a possibility, the internet is another really good resource. There are a number of sites that purport to offer free 'streaming' of various Italian content, although in recent years the Italian government has stepped up efforts to crack down on some of these services due to their questionable legality. Occasionally, you will come across sites hosted by the official producer of a show, such as the RAI website for Un Posto al Sole where you can watch a back-catalogue of past episodes. 

Italian soap operas on DVD

A final option would be to purchase a copy on DVD. There are many online retailers that offer Italian DVDs, however you may find your choice of soaps limited as not all Italian soaps enjoy sufficient demand to warrant being released on DVD.    

Interestingly, many Italians enjoy dubbed versions of American TV programs where the original voice of the actors has been substituted for an Italian replacement. This may be an option if you struggle to find a source of original Italian language material.

Also, one pitfall to avoid in your search for Italian soap operas is to not get confused with the term Telenvolea which is often confused with the Italian soap genre. Strictly speaking, a telenovela will originate from Spain, Portugal or South America and has some minor structural differences that distinguish it from the soap opera format.  

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