Mar 01, 2016 - 04:26 PM
I don't know about Italian, but I used Fluenz 1 to 5 in Spanish and at the end I had a strong foundation that I complemented with CDs from Michel Thomas for the additional verb tenses that were not covered by Fluenz. To add vocabulary ie used the "practice makes perfect" books and used Anki decks every day to add words and sentences of things that were around me (ex: stuff around the house). I then joined a conversation class to practice my spanish. Because I studied with all of these for at least 3 hours a day I gained a conversational level pretty fast. Also, I wanted to take the official exams so I hired a professional teacher via Italki a couple of days a weeks in order to practice the exams. I haven't taken the B2 exam yet (planning for November) but I'm at that level after almost 3 years.
I highly recommend using multiple methods in order to progress faster. I'm learning Chinese now, and I'm using a combination of Fluenz, chinese learning websites, books & hiring a teacher online.
In your case, it seems that conversational practice would be highly beneficial. Don't feel bad if you're lost when starting; when I started I was completely lost even after completing level 5 of fluenz, because i was not prepared for full conversations, but rather one to one short dialogs (restaurant, hotel, cab), but the foundation I got with Fluenz made me not worry much about grammar and constructions, where other students were struggling in that area. I progressed much faster than the rest, thanks to that foundation I believe.