leggete and leggi
This tells me that they both mean you read so i was wondering what situations required which word. (same with scrivete and scrivi)
Leggete means You all read whereas Leggi means You (as an individual) read, but the you is the informal you (tu). You can also have Legge meaning formal you, but generally legge means he,she or it reads.
Exactly. But it isn't just leggere and scrivere, it happens on every verb.
Leggi-- you read. Only you; there is no one else. Singular.
- Pete, did you read that book yet? (use tu leggi)
Leggete-- you read. More than one person being spoken to at the same time. Plural.
- OK class, I want you to read chapter one of the book for tomorrow. (use voi leggete)
But in the past many people used Voi as a formal way. Now is more used Lei (third sigular person as psionpete said), but in Italy you can still find people that use Voi to talk in a formal way with you
I'm actually glad to hear that. In French classes (in 1978!) we were taught that "vous" was also used as Formal You, so I was disappointed to find out that Duolingo was not using Voi the same way in Italian. I was sure it was going to be the same as the French that I learned so long ago.
Duolingo is adopting a much more "modern" approach to learning Italian, which makes a lot of sense, and that is appreciated by most of the users here, I think.
It doesn't make much sense to learn how to speak "proper" or "old" Italian if only a small number of local people, or scholars, use it. Likewise the dialects around Napoli or Venezia or Genova. It's fine for them, but why learn it if you don't need it in other parts of the country?
No; modern "popular" Italian is the way to go here. But it is also a good thing to have this knowledge, so thank-you for your very insightful post!