Woman in red dress Italianissimo cartoon

BBC Italianissimo Review

Have you heard of Italianissimo? It’s a BBC series from the ’90s (when people wore fanny packs and mullets were cool). The show aimed to teach beginners about Italy’s language and culture.

But don’t let the cheesy ’90s vibe fool you. Italianissimo is good. It covers all the basics, such as introductions, socializing, and making requests.

Italianissimo cartoon

Italianissimo combines English explanations with Italian. And the show even features unscripted conversations with actual local Italians – not just some actors pretending to be Italian like in The Godfather.

Italianissimo has a unique twin-track approach to meet different learners’ needs. Plus, each of the 20 episodes is only about 15 minutes long, making it convenient to watch when you have a busy schedule.

The show even gives you a taste of Italy back in the 90s with authentic location recordings. And you start to get the feel of the different accents spoken in Italy from north to south.

But, you will surely freak out when you hear prices throughout the show. The amounts are pretty high! But remember that the show came into existence before Euro adoption in Italy. So when you hear prices, they’re in lire italiane.

Wrapping Up!

So, if you’re looking to learn Italian and want to do it while being entertained, Italianissimo is the way to go. Look past the 90s vibe and absorb as much of the Italian language and culture. Just don’t blame me when you start talking with your hands!

If you want to check another free Italian BBC-produced course (filmed in our era, not as way back as the 90s), click here.

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16 Comments

  1. Italianissimo sounds like a fun and educational show to help beginners like me learn the language and get to know the Italian culture.
    However, I’m curious about the unscripted conversations with local Italians that the show features. How does that work? I mean, as a beginner, won’t it be challenging to understand those conversations?
    Do they provide additional support or context to help viewers follow along and learn from those interactions?

    1. Yes, I get it. But there is nothing to worry. Italianissimo provides context for the conversations, and you’ll be surprised how much you can understand locals! Check it out!

  2. Learning the basics of a language from a show is a delightful idea. There’s an element of engagement and entertainment as opposed to taking a course that might be boring and more demanding.

    Naturally, one wouldn’t become proficient with any language from watching a series. But continuous exposure can be a game changer.

    1. Thank you for your take on this. Being able to keep ourselves invested in learning the language is more than half the battle!

  3. One intriguing aspect of the show is its glimpse into Italy in the 1990s, complete with authentic location recordings. It doesn’t only teach the language but also provides cultural insights and exposes viewers to the diverse accents spoken across the country.

    The shock-inducing prices in the show (in lire Italiane, the currency before Italy’s adoption of the Euro) are the icing on the cake. It’s a fun reminder of Italy’s economic history. I enjoyed the travel through memory lane!

  4. Hey, Jonathan, great review!

    Italianissimo sounds like a fun way to learn Italian, even with its ’90s vibe. It will remind me of the series we watched as children (Saved by the Bell, Power Rangers, etc). The twin-track approach, short episodes, and conversations with locals make it appealing.

    The glimpse into 1990s Italy is a nice touch. Your humor about lire Italiane prices made me smile.

    1. Yeah, it may bring a bit of nostalgia. Many don’t know about this free course. You can spread the word to others who may also be interested!

  5. I didn’t know this TV show but I know that I really liked BBC TV shows back in the ’90s! Italianissimo is a show mingling entertainment and education as it shows you how to learn Italian. And the way Italian is mixed with English, so you won’t be lost in translation while following the show. I’d really like this kind of show to come back! Do you have the equivalent of Italianissimo in the current times?

  6. Hi Jonathan

    Your article is short and to the point. You never know where life takes you. Learning other languages is important  especially if you like travelling because then it makes life easier. What I like about about your article about Italianissimo it gives English explanation of Italian, and makes you feel what life is like in Italy. This makes it even more easier.

    It would have been nicer for me if your could mention days and times in which this series in been aired. What I also like is that the show runs for 15min. Some of us our concentration span is shot and this will just be good for me especially for learning. 

    Thanks for your articles. I now want to learn Italian

    Richard

  7. The 90s has a bunch of cool stuff. I like the TV shows and music. It even makes me a bit nostalgic.

    So, when I discovered Italianissimo, it was the perfect fit. I enjoy the retro vibes. Thank you very much for highlighting this language-learning show. I will share it with some of my friends. We may even end up watching it together.

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