do try out JL Photo's Gitai tripod range.. for what gman23xx recommends is Y560 which is listed at $120 comes with ballhead, bag, strap and tools.. but if you are looking for something travel, then you should be looking at their nomad travel series which is IMHO better then Benro's travelangel series and with a smaller price tag at $179..
I got this for $130 at Funan Centre from one of the camera shops.
It is good and stable and can handle my 2 Kilos of equipment.
It can be folded to about 35 cm in length and only weighs 800 g.
I have also used this on my mountainous hikes such as the Great Wall of China and the Swiss Alps.
The compact size makes it very convenient to carry and is allowed on board aeroplanes as a hand carry item. It is also small enough to be tucked inside a backpack, or as an external attachment to a dedicated camera bag.
It also comes with a quick release plate, which I leave semi-permanently connected to the base of my camera when I am travelling. On travel tours, I can set up my tripod in about 30s, that's really quick and nifty.
One of my fellow travellers (who was also a photobuff) was also impressed by this nifty tripod. He was carrying one of those really professional 2 kilo types, needless to say, he did not get very far up the Great Wall as compared with me.
if you want a really compact and light...
use the gorilla-pod slr zoom... it's very light, but can support until 4.5 kilos...
the backdraw... you need to find something to "parasite" or else your photos all will be low angle )
If you are going to Italy, trying the local Italian pizzas and coffee is heaven on earth.
The pizzas are way better than Pizza Hut. The Italians add plenty of olive oil to their pizzas (literally soaking it!), may sound oily to us Chinese but it is the authentic Italian way of eating pizzas.
As for the coffee, they are really to die for. Much better than the ones from commercial joints such as Starbucks or Coffee Bean. Very full bodied and aromatic coffee.
Some must go places :- Florence (for the statutes), Venice (for the Gondola rides), Rome (colosseum) + Vatican City (religious history), Milan ( have not been here but heard that it's for fashion watching so your wife will surely enjoy it).
Another unknown Italian gem I discovered and worth trying is an excursion to the palaces of the Italian royalty. They have their own architectural styles unique to the Italians.
I read that Venice was flooded recently, so you are really fortunate not to have made that Italian trip this year.