One interesting thing that is emerging from these lessons that hasn't from any teach-yourself course I've done is that the dialects in Italy are very distinct. I suppose this is not surprising given Italy's history as, basically, a federation of principalities, but the subtleties of it are quite interesting. It also affects some words.
The first person of the verb "fare" (to do/make - you know - faire in French) has different forms depending on where you are. The verb was apparently originally faccere and conjugated like a 2nd conjugation -ere verb, whereas now it is partly conjugated like a 1st conjugation -are verb. Consequently, many people in the north use "fo" to mean "I do", whereas strictly speaking the standard Italian form is "faccio". Claudio commented that if he used the form "faccio" to his parents they would think he was being posh, and so he tends to use "fo". I can use either, of course, although as a foreigner I'm going to stick to "faccio" atm. :o) Still, these are exactly the sort of things I need to be aware of if I'm to make out anything of what people say when I eventually visit Italy.