One of the difficulties I have in learning Italian is in remembering the genders of things I would normally consider genderless or neutral gender - animals, for example I would refer to as "it" if I was unsure of the individual animal's gender, or if I was speaking generally about animals of a particular type.This is something I had a problem with in learning French in High school as well. Are there any tips or tricks for remembering genders? I'm considering either finding or making an Italian primer book for myself - like a picture book for young children with "the dog" and "the cat" and all the other words as I learn them so that I can learn the genders the same way I learned stuff as a child - repetition. I'm sure that being certain of the genders would help me more easily remember the right verb forms to use in the practise drills. What do other learners think?
This may be helpful: http://italian.about.com/library/weekly/aa051000a.htm
However, in languages with genders there are usually no absolutely definite rules and you have to memorize each noun with its article. Don't learn "ristorante", but "il ristorante". You can also think of your own associations that can help you remember the right gender. On Memrise, people often use pictures with blue color for masculine, red or pink for feminine and green for neuter. I still remember the green telephone and know it is "das Telefon" in German :-)