From the most recent Gourmet magazine comes this enticing tidbit:
Next time you're in Italy, skip the restaurant guides and sign up for dinner with an Italian family. Home Food is a countrywide network of women (and sometimes men), affectionately called "Cesarine," who invite diner into their kitchens for a taste of traditional dishes made with the best regional ingredients. Professor Egeria Di Nallo, head of political science at the University of Bologna, launched the organization two years ago with a handful of friends because she felt it was becoming increasingly difficult to find authentic Italian food in restaurants. Today, the group is almost 200 strong, with Cesarine from Turin to Sicily. "Home cooks hold the key to our Italian culinary heritage," says Di Nallo. "Our goal is to access that wisdom, keep it alive, and share it." All Cesarine must meet the home food's high level of culinary skills while also displaying thorough knowledge of regional traditions. A one-month membership ($4) lets travelers register for as many meals across the country as they'd like. Dinners range from a casual supper in a Roman apartment to a feast at a Renaissance palace in Siena. ($30-90)
Do this! Someone who's going to Italy soon - try this! And then come back and tell me all about it!!