Several recommendations: the "30 Days to Great Italian," book from Living Language is informative and entertaining; my copy is older, but there's a website (livinglanguage.com, I think) with newer offerings. For interpreting basic signs, notices, and menus the RS phrasebook or any good guidebook will be useful. I think it would be a good idea to get a bit of a grasp of the spoken language, as well. I like the Pimsleur language system, as well as "Italian with Michel Thomas". Both are on CDs. The Michel Thomas is particularly good for a quick overview of Italian. Pimsleur now has interactive web-based programs, but I just check out the discs from my local library (always a great place to start.) And of course, there's Rosetta Stone, but I haven't tried that myself. Oh, the Living Language book I mentioned above also comes with an audio CD, with entertaining and useful dialogues. We have found that even a smattering of Italian pays off, and the Italians are much more forgiving than we are of clumsy language attempts. It's worth the effort. Have fun, and Buon viaggio!