I would start with an introductory course on the spot. My son gives some in the wine country above Verona, see his website. I would then rent a small place in two or three cities and towns, for a few days each. Choose places with great markets such as Venice and Rome, get to know the stall-keepers, exchange ideas with them, try a few local restaurants, speak to their chefs, go back to your apartment and cook. Or, for a cheaper alternative, stay home and cook your way through Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, then travel to Italy. Good luck. Marcella