Have you heard of Italianissimo? It’s a BBC series from the ’90s, back when people still wore fanny packs and thought mullets were cool. The show’s goal was to teach beginners all about the language and people of Italy – because, let’s be real, nothing screams “Italy” like a British TV show!
But don’t let the cheesy ’90s vibe fool you, Italianissimo is actually pretty legit. It covers all the basics like introductions, socializing, and making requests – you know, all the stuff you need to know before you can even order a pizza in Italy. And it’s appropriate even for absolute beginners.
Italianissimo combines English explanations with Italian, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost in translation. 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 around 15 minutes long, so you won’t have to sit through a three-hour-long snooze-fest.
The show even gives you a taste of what life was like in 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. So you can learn all about Italy while pretending you’re there – it’s like a virtual vacation without having to deal with jetlag!
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 – which is like, what, a bajillion dollars in today’s money? Just kidding, Italy’s not that expensive.
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 as you can. Just don’t blame me when you start talking with your hands and saying “mamma mia” all the time!
If you want to check another free Italian BBC-produced course (filmed in our era, not as way back as the 90s), click here.