Monica Morini and teenager La Mappa Misteriosa cartoon

La Mappa Misteriosa

There is nothing more fun than learning Italian with videos. This form of consuming content can engage you, and you do not realize you are also learning! What can beat that?


Have you heard about the series called “La Mappa Misteriosa”? We will dive into it in this post.

I like it when a series is well-produced. But nothing beats a compelling storyline. And “La Mappa Misteriosa” has them both. But to cap it all, it is FREE!

BBC is responsible for this production. You can start watching the episodes of this series by clicking here.

This video drama adventure will suck you in. It comes with 12 episodes. Thus, it can be completed in 3 months (if you watch an episode per week).

This Italian course has an exciting story.

Do you like detective stories? Tales involving maps? Do you enjoy stories that take place in Italy? In “La Mappa Misteriosa,” you plunge into an adventure surrounding a secret map.

You interact with the plot throughout the story. It has no dull moment as you follow the trace of this map drawn more than 40 years ago. You turn up in fascinating and surprising scenarios around Italy. And during the entire journey, you learn Italian in a fun way! You are constantly moving from place to place, meeting new interesting people as the story builds momentum!

La Mappa Misteriosa Monica Morini cartoon

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 is 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 exquisite dishes. A common saying is that the best cooking in the World takes place in Bologna. Of all the chefs who ever worked there, Giovanni Serretto was the most famous. He was the very best.

In the nineteen-sixties, Italian food became a worldwide phenomenon. And Chef Giovanni Serretto was at the heart of it. His recipes were world-renowned. Above all, his signature dish (a magnificent cake) is called “La Torta di Serretto.” But he never revealed that recipe. People that surrounded him said he drew a map as a game for his little daughter. He planned to take her across Emilia-Romagna and go about his favorite places. The cake recipe was the treasure found at the end.

However, it all ended on a sad note. Giovanni Serretto died in a car crash when he was just 26 years old. His daughter was just a baby. And the map was lost forever, along with his recipe.

But, wait a minute! If you have found the map to that recipe, it must be worth thousands to the right person. Just imagine, you were the one who found this map after 40 years. What would you do? Would you continue with your life as if you had not seen the map? Or visit Bologna? Well, that is a decision the story makes for you. In the story, you go to Bologna and follow the treasure trail.

A must-do!

Do you happen to be learning Italian? Why not check out “La Mappa Misteriosa”? Do not waste any more time and plunge into the story! You will surely enjoy this journey! The story is full of Italian flavor! Good luck finding Giovanni Serretto’s recipe!

Learn Italian with a podcast-style course

You can also check out a podcast-style course that is ideal for listening throughout the day. Exposure makes you learn Italian faster. Click here to read more about it.

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  1. 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!

    1. 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! 😀

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

  3. 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.

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

  4. 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

    1. 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!

  5. 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!

    1. 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! 🙂

  6. 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! 

    1. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  8. 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.

    1. 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!

  9. 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. 

    1. Hi! 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!

  10. 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!

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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!

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

  12. Hi,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.

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    1. Hi,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.

  15. I believe that learning a language must be fun. If it’s fun, then you keep on learning. If it’s boring, then you move to something else (at least that’s what most of us do, LOL).

    This BBC program seems to be cool. And I’m impressed that it’s free. I’ll check it out.

  16. Wow, this is a really great idea to offer a way to learn while being engaged in something truly interesting to follow. I think this is the perfect way to plan for a trip to Italy so that you can learn the most conversational elements to be able to communicate when traveling! Thank you for the North American links so that we can get ready for more exciting travels abroad!

    1. Hi Aly, I’m glad you liked this series. Finding interesting things makes learning the language fun.

  17. My husband loves Italian food and also Italian clothing trends. I’m sure he would enjoy learning some Italian. He occasionally says “Grazie, Grazie” when we’re cooking together. He says it in a funny tone for me to laugh. I should share this site with him. He’s currently learning French. Could he learn two languages at the same time?

  18. That is an excellent post.

    La Mappa Misteriosa is interesting and exciting. What a great way to learn a new language. Being immersed in this mystery story in the heart of Italy sounds fun! I have never been to Bologna but I have heard a lot about it! But from here on, I’ll pay more attention when it’s mentioned.

  19. What a fun and exciting way to learn Italian! 

    I love that it starts out being in a library! My girlfriend and I actually fell for each other as the result of our love of books! 

    I have never been to Bologna in the heart of Italy. But I have read it has a predominant place in Italian cuisine!

    1. Hey, yeah, this series is fun. Anybody interested in cuisine and traveling will enjoy it even more.

  20. I am glad that there is a page like this. I like stories where I can have an impact on the plot. And this mystery sounds fun.
    The Italian language is very appealing to me. It has always sounded melodic. I used Duolingo when I was learning French, so I will also give it a shot with Italian.

    1. Hi! Yes, this type of story is fun. And this one, in particular, is helpful for learning. I have also used Duolingo, and it would be good for you to pair it with La Mappa Misteriosa.

  21. Reading this post made my day. I was searching for a new method to improve my Italian language. And I agree that watching videos will be helpful. I was looking for something like this. I had in mind something entertaining but at the same time educational. I am glad I came across La Mappa Misteriosa.

  22. I enjoy videos. I can watch YouTube for a long time. But finding content that can help me learn Italian is not that easy. That is why I am so glad I found your post. I will start watching the episodes. I don’t think the 12 chapters will take me three months. I may watch them all in three days!

  23. Hey! I liked this story about the mysterious map. It sounds intriguing! Thanks for sharing! I hope the daughter finds the recipe. It would mean so much to her. But I fear someone might steal the map and discover the treasure before her. I will check out to see how this story unfolds!

  24. I like how this is interactive and involves you in the storyline. It makes you feel part of the story. Sounds like it’s a really effective way to learn.

    Is there an equivalent BBC course to learn Spanish? I am interested in learning Spanish, and this approach has won me over.

  25. Thank you for sharing your enthusiastic recommendation of “La Mappa Misteriosa.” I do not hesitate to realize from your comment that you have found great joy in engaging with the video series. And I take it that it is true since there is no direct incentive for you to recommend it to us. I’ll check it out!

  26. Hey, I really like this. Learning a new language is boring. Even with Duoingo I can find it hard. It’s hard to get motivated. Because it’s just not that fun. There’s so many other fun things I can be doing. So I love the idea of this, where you get lost in a intriguing story kind of like a great novel where you can escape reality. Plus the storyline sounds super cool.

    1. Finding interesting things to do while learning a language can make the difference between sticking to learning it or dropping out.

  27. I’m not learning Italian, but I’ll watch the series. I love to learn about Italy and its culture. And if the course takes us to different parts of the boot, I am in for the ride! I have only been to Rome and Milan. But I would love to visit Venice and Florence. I hope the BBC takes us there!

    1. I have been to Florence! It is a museum the size of a city. All the city is a work of art. But I haven’t gone to Venice yet. I join you in your eagerness to visit Venice!

  28. What a fun page on your website. The graphics are cute, and it was an entertaining read.

    I’ve always wanted to go to Italy. La Mappa Misteriosa would be a great course before I go!

    I see that the Mapa Misteriosa cartoon does not show up on the BBC website. Is the cartoon only on your site? Or could you tell me where to find it on the BBC site?

    I like the fact that this video series for learning Italian is story-based. I have several friends who come from other countries. And one of the easiest ways to learn English (according to them) was by watching soap operas, TV commercials, etc.

    1. Thank you for your compliment about the cute graphics. I put a lot of effort into making original illustrations for my site.

      The Mappa Misteriosa cartoon is only here at I am happy you liked it!

      Stories, movies, TV series, and other similar options are all great tools for language learning. For one, they keep you interested in the content. Second, they provide a lot of context for your brain to fill in the gaps and make connections based on common sense.

  29. Hi Jonathan,

    I stumbled upon your piece on “La Mappa Misteriosa,” and I have thoughts! First off, kudos for spotlighting such an innovative way to learn Italian. Diving into a detective story while subconsciously imbibing a new language? Genius!
    However, let’s talk about depth. While you’ve teased the readers with the premise, there needs to be a missed opportunity to delve into the nitty-gritty of the narrative. How about a sneak peek into the episodes or a personal anecdote on how the storyline resonated with you? Give us the juicy details, not just the trailer!
    Thank you for your work and sharing. I am looking forward to your thoughts!


  30. Being Italian myself, I found this article very interesting. I have never seen this series before. Maybe I will find some time to watch it here soon. But, just from reading your article i found myself interested. While I am Italian I do not know the language. So, it would be nice to start learning it sometime, since it’s part of my heritage. The only issue I found is that the large picture in the article didn’t show up, leaving a large white space in the middle of the page. I’d be interested to see what the image is. 

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