I could go on and on about two of my favorite things in the world but I won't. I need to start packing for my trip.
I have heard some Americans complain the food in Italy is not "Italian food". That statement confuses me. Each region of Italy has its own flavor (pun intended) so don't know how you can write off an entire country's cuisine.
I am looking forward to leaving a culture where food is seen by most people as a means to an end. Sorry, life is too short to be shoveling flavorless, mediocre food into one's mouth.
Here is a recipe and video from the Mestolando blog run by a couple in Florence. The recipe is for Penna Pasta alla Fiesolana. It's similar to a carbonara but uses a beciamella sause as a base.