BBCThere is nothing more fun than to learn Italian with YouTube. Or any other video streaming platform, by the way. The thing with video is that you get engaged with the content and don’t realize you’re learning at the same time! What can beat that?

In this post we’ll highly recommend an online series that is really well produced, has a very interesting story line and to cap it all, it is FREE! 

This free online Italian course has been created by BBC. If you’re based in the UK, you can start practicing with it by clicking here. Those of you in the UK can enjoy the interactive aspects of this course. The video pauses, asks you questions, you make decisions about how the story line will keep on unfolding. This video drama adventure will really suck you in. It’s designed to be completed in 3 months, with 12 episodes. And it’s for beginners.

If you’re outside the UK (in any other place in the World), you can also watch just the videos on YouTube by clicking here.

La Mappa Misteriosa

This Italian course has a very exciting story.

In the course, you plunge into a story of a secret map. The title of it is “La Mappa Misteriossa.”  All along the story, you are asked to interact in the plot. As you follow the trace of this map drawn more than 40 years ago, you turn up in very interesting and surprising scenarios. And during the entire journey, you’re learning Italian in a very fun way! It never has a dull moment. You are constantly moving from place to place, meeting new interesting people as the story builds momentum!

What is La Mappa Misteriosa about?

In the story, you are at the library. And looking through some books, you have found something that looks like a map. It says it’s the route to the lost recipe of ‘La Torta di Serretto.’ That map shows Bologna in the center, the heart of Italy. Bologna is known for its cooking. It’s commonly said that the best cooking in the World takes place in Bologna. And of all the chefs that ever worked there, Giovanni Serretto was the most famous. He was the very best.

Italian food became a worldwide phenomenon in the nineteen-sixties. And Chef Giovanni Serretto was at the heart of it. His recipes were world renown. Above all, his signature dish, a magnificent cake called ‘La Torta di Serretto.’ But he never revealed that recipe. It’s said he made a map. It was a game for his little daughter. They would journey across Emilia-Romagna and go about his favorite places. The cake recipe would be found at the end.

But, Giovanni Serretto died in a car crash when he was just 26 years old. His daughter was still, just a baby. And the map was lost forever, along with his recipe. But, if you have found the map to that recipe, it must be worth thousands to the right person. In the story, you go to Bologna and follow the treasure trail.

A must do!

This is a ‘must do’ course! So, don’t waste any more time and plunge into the story! You will surely enjoy this very interesting journey! All the story is full of Italian flavor! What are you waiting to follow La Mappa Misteriossa and find Giovanni Serretto’s recipe?


Ayako · March 20, 2017 at 4:17 PM

Hi Henry
I love Italy, Italian and Italian food, so I enjoyed reading your post! I lived in Rome many years ago and I wish I had this programme back then when I was trying to learn the language. I’m struggling with the Danish language right now, but when I have the opportunity, I definitely want to enroll in this programme and try to re-learn Italian again!

    Henry · March 21, 2017 at 2:33 AM

    So glad to hear about your love for Italy, Italian and Italian food! And with La Mappa Misteriosa, you will surely re-learn Italian in no time! Thank you for stopping by! 😀

Penny · March 26, 2017 at 9:15 AM

That sounds SO fun, kinda like a mix between Clue and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, but for learning a language. I like it. Thanks for the great recommendation; if I ever need to learn Italian, I’m starting here!

    Henry · March 28, 2017 at 4:42 AM

    Yes, exactly! You will have a great time with La Mappa Misteriosa! And you will surely learn a lot of Italian! It is the best place to start!

languagelover · June 8, 2017 at 5:54 PM

Is La Mappa Misteriosa still available? When I visit the site I get a “This content doesn’t seem to be working.” I know that the BBC has sadly allowed a lot of its language resources to go to seed.

    Henry · June 11, 2017 at 5:50 PM

    Yes, you are right! The course is presently not available on the BBC site. I will be updating this post as soon as I have official news from the BBC. But I still encourage you to check this fantastic short story to learn Italian on youtube. You can click here to take a look! Thanks for stopping by!

Chris · August 3, 2017 at 10:59 AM

The videos are still available on iPlayer. It describes them as being ‘clips’ but the episodes are all there, complete. It is a shame that this excellent series was not released on DVD.

    Henry · August 11, 2017 at 3:00 AM

    Hi, Chris! Yes, it really is a shame! But it is great to hear that the videos are still available. Thank you very much for sharing the link.

Sharlee · February 16, 2019 at 8:36 PM

Hi Henry

I was reading on your website today and I happened to find this post, and although I haven’t checked out the link to La Mappa Misteriosa, I just wanted to comment that it is such a great idea! Learning a new language while having fun or playing a game, is an easy and uhm… fun way 😉 of learning. I can also imagine that it would help one to stick with the course when the going gets tuff, and I believe retention of what is learned would also better that way.

You seem to find such interesting things to share – thank you!

Wishing you a lovely day, Henry

    Henry · February 22, 2019 at 12:51 PM

    Hello dear Sharlee!

    Thank you very much. I feel honored you found this suggestion to this course interesting. I really enjoyed going through it. And I wanted to share because, as you have said, during the process of learning a language, things might get tuff. And it’s so nice to have interesting stuff that helps us with our progress. There is nothing worse than learning a language in a dull class. But with all the resources available now, monotonous classes are something of the past! 🙂

    Thank you very much for stopping by!

Cathy Cavarzan · March 2, 2019 at 11:13 PM

Oh my goodness! This sounds so much better than when my nono (grandpa) was trying to teach me how to roll my R’s. LOL LOL.

Aww, what memories… He used to get so upset as I could never pronounce our last name correctly in Italian (Cavarzan by the way). Now I am wishing for a big plate of homemade ravioli.

I must go back to YouTube and watch La Mappa Misteriosa. I’m sure it’ll be a very pleasant experience remembering Italian meals and manners I saw in nono. Thank you!

    Henry · March 2, 2019 at 8:04 PM

    Ciao Cathy! Yes, I agree you’ll have a very pleasant time remembering your nono while going through La Mappa Misteriosa. It indeed is full of Italian flavour. And you’ll recall all those special dishes. Homemade ravioli are one of my favorites too! Yummy! 🙂

Dave Sweney · March 2, 2019 at 11:21 PM

What a fun and novel way to learn a new language! I have tried a number of products over the years and had great success with some, but most have not been that good for me. Some people have an affinity for learning new languages, and while I do have fewer problems than some, it is not a gimme.

I am outside of the UK, so will tap into the video option you mention and give this a try. I speak some Italian now, but most definitely this will be a good refresher and a lot of fun too. I have spent a lot of time in Italy over the years, it is my second favorite country in the EU (Germany is number one).

Thanks for the tip and the links, I do appreciate your effort to help us all out in learning a new language. Italian is also a fun one to speak, you also have to learn the gestures and inflection of voice to make it work right! 

    Henry · March 2, 2019 at 9:58 PM

    Hi Dave! Yes, this is really a fun way to learn a language. And as you have stated, Italian has that special touch that distinguishes it from the other languages in that even gestures and inflection of voice make a huge difference.

    If you like Italy and also know a bit of Italian already, you’ll definitely enjoy La Mappa Misteriosa. It will serve a double purpose: it’ll be a good refresher and it’ll make you want to visit Italy again!

    Thank you very much for stopping by and for your comment.

Red6312 · June 28, 2019 at 3:13 AM

I really like your website, the way it’s laid out and the content on it. I feel that you give enough information for someone to learn Italian. My husband’s family was from Italy and I was always intrigued by the language.

Besides La Mappa Misteriosa that is a free course, I see you also recommend paid ones such as Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur and Michel Thomas Method. I hardly have any time to take a course but which one of these three would be best for me if I’m a good listener. I can listen all day while I’m at work or driving my car. Thanks.

    Henry · June 28, 2019 at 4:07 AM

    Hi! If you’re a good listener then I’d suggest you to click here to read a useful post. There are some productive things you could do during the day that will cost you nothing and may help you improve your language skills.

    From those 3 courses you mentioned, Pimsleur is an all audio program, so it may suit you. 🙂

Laura · June 28, 2019 at 3:20 AM

What an incredible way to learn Italian. I checked out the video. I can see how it will be more fun and more natural. Applying what I learn to a visual is so much better for me as a visual learner. 

I wonder if they have this type of video for other languages as well?

I am so happy I stumbled across your post. I had no idea this type of learning existed. 

Thank you for taking the time to post and write in a way that is so easy to read.

    Henry · October 23, 2019 at 12:13 AM

    Hi Laura. Yes, the BBC has other languages with similar video courses. One of them is Spanish. I also did all that course and it’s fun too. It’s about you arriving at Spain and something goes wrong at the very beginning and you’re left with relatives of the friend you were going to visit and they don’t know a word in English, so there starts the excitement!

whunni · June 28, 2019 at 3:27 AM

Hello Henry,  

Thanks for your post – it grabbed my interest.  

I comprehend the challenges that come with learning a language other than your own. I have been learning Japanese for many years now, and am still learning new things about it every day.  

The key to learning any language is to be finding ways to stay motivated. And to keep motivation high maybe it is something as simple as being able to communicate with somebody that you care about, or having the necessity of using the language in your occupation. If you can have fun while learning a new language, it seems to me, that you will continue striving to get better.  

Your post shows how one can start learning Italian, have fun while doing so, and also dive into the ocean of Italian storied history of exquisite cuisine – which is some of the best in the world (right up there with Japanese cuisine in my opinion).   

All the best to you. 

    Henry · October 28, 2019 at 12:45 AM


    Thank you very much for sharing your experience learning languages. Yes, finding things that keep us motivated to continue learning is key.

    I agree with you, Japanese and Italian cuisine are both exquisite!

Pentrental · March 20, 2020 at 6:11 PM

Learning Italian on YouTube sounds pretty fun and it’s good to know that there are multiple outlets out there to help in learning the language. La Mappa Misteriossa sounds like an equally fun conquest. It’s always nice to be able to have fun while learning, and Giovanni Serretto is an inspiration though unfortunate story about one of my favorite topics, Italian foods. I think it sounds like a great course and I’m looking forward to checking it out further through your link, well done!

    Jonathan Henry · March 20, 2020 at 11:49 PM

    Hi! I’m glad you made up your mind to check out La Mappa Misteriosa. You won’t regret it. Have a nice time going through the heart of Italy.

Smoochi · March 24, 2020 at 2:19 AM

This sounds like an interesting series. I’m lucky to live in the UK and will be able to enjoy the interactive elements of this course. I’ve never been to Italy (yet), but would like to go this summer. Hopefully things down there, and in all Europe may have improved by that time.

So, with these plans in mind, I want to brush up my Italian. I can basically understand a lot but can hardly speak it.

    Jonathan Henry · March 24, 2020 at 10:45 PM

    I perceive you’re in a kinda intermediate level in Italian, so you’ll greatly benefit from La Mappa Misteriosa because understanding the series makes it fun.

    Wish you a good trip next August!

Chezya · June 3, 2020 at 1:27 AM

Good story! It has even made me consider learning Italian.

    Jonathan Henry · July 29, 2020 at 12:41 PM

    Yes, it is a nice story. Do give it a try. There is nothing better than to learn a language following interesting stories.

surya · June 3, 2020 at 1:56 AM


that sounds like a really fun way to learn a language.

Having an interesting story going on the background while learning a language seems an effective method. I wish I was taught languages this way in School. I may have paid more attention.

The story plot has intrigued me. I’m definitely checking this one out. Thank you.

    Jonathan Henry · June 3, 2020 at 2:45 AM

    I’m glad you liked this approach of using a story to share some language lessons. Yes, check La Mappa Misteriosa, it’s fun!

Darrin · June 3, 2020 at 1:59 AM

The history is great! I love Italy, and I never get tired of Italian food. It is sad thought that a little girl lost her 26 year-old dad to a car accident when he was about to embark on a huge career. It makes you wonder what ever happened with her….? I’ll follow the plot.

    Jonathan Henry · June 3, 2020 at 2:57 AM

    Hey Darrin,

    yes, this mystery story has a sad opening note… 🙁

Chezya · June 3, 2020 at 2:06 AM

Hey Henry, I was wondering what “La Mappa Misteriosa” was so I just went ahead and read through the entire article. This is a beautiful but sad intro to the story. And it reminds me a bit of my own family.

I am currently working on my Japanese. But due to the compelling plot, I’ll try out this series. Thank you.

    Jonathan Henry · June 3, 2020 at 3:37 AM


    I’m sorry to hear about your own family. And I hope you find the series useful. I believe it’s well crafted and will make you want to learn more each time. All the best.

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