There are many regional dialects in the Italian language. If you come from an Italian family you probably heard your parents and grandparents speak a little differently that what you learn in an Italian language class. That’s because you are learning classical Italian based on the Tuscan dialect popularized by Dante Alighieri.
Dante is credited for standardizing the Italian language and the dialect of Tuscany making it the basis for what would be the official language of Italy and making Dante the “Father of the Italian language”. That’s not to say everyone agreed with him. There was much debate over the centuries on what should govern the establishment of a modern Italian literary and spoken language. An intellectual debate between various scholars of the time (including Baldassare Castiglione and Niccolo Machiavelli) ranted on whether the standard or dialectical form of Italian should be the most accepted. Eventually standard Italian prevailed and the Accademia della Crusca, an official government institution established in1582, began overseeing the preservation of standard Italian. Shortly after that, the Accademia published the first official Italian dictionary, the Vocabolario della Crusca, which ultimately became the template for future language dictionaries.