Chi, non è mai stato in Italia è sempre consapevole di un'inferiorità che gli deriva dal non aver visto quello che un uomo dovrebbe vedere.

Samuel Johnson

A man who has not been to Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what is expected a man should see.

After a four year degree with a year in Italy, working and studying, I finally became fluent in Italian.  But it did not come easily.  Five years ago, I only knew "ciao" and "pizza".  Now, Italians mistake me for an Italian.  (Ok, one Italian mistook me for an Italian once.) 

Italy for me is the chocolate in the cake, is the food of the soul, is the reason for being.  There are few places where the people are as fun, where the art is as beautiful and well, where the food is as good.