I live half the year in Northern Italy and, despite the b*llsache of dealing with a public sector and corporations with not a notion of customer service or even efficiency, I enjoy it massively but I'm not dewy-eyed about it.
Most importantly, although very parochial in some ways, most Italians seem genuinely hospitable to foreigners. I lived in France (Lyon) and found the experience quite stressful. This was not because I was foreign - the French seem quite abrupt and rude to each other as well and the default assumption in any transaction appeared to be that the counterpart was out to do you down. Not a nice way to live your life. Day-to-day transactions in Italy are far more relaxed and much more respectful in my experience.
The small and medium businesses and trades are generally lovely to deal with with people who care about what they are doing. It is a delight watching a time-served expert in a carozzeria, for example, and the painstaking care he will put into a job.
Corporate Italy on the other hand is a mixed bunch. My bank is excellent but if we in the UK think that the Post Office in the UK resembles a Warsaw bread queue from 1977, try the Italian equivalent
The food is pretty mono-cultural but, at least where I live, it is good and if you change with the seasons it can be quite varied. Supermarkets have a lot of stock but very little foreign stuff and the frozen food is far superior in French supermarkets.
I don't understand the comment about the quality of Italian restaurants. If you keep away from the tourist haunts, it is generally quite easy to find a decent meal for not a lot, but generally the emphasis is on simple food done well and less on the kind of (what my son terms) poncy food you expect dining in France. Very different food cultures. I've eaten far more defrosted food in other parts of Europe (France included) than I have in Italy.
You really do not want to go for a curry or oriental meal in most Italian towns either
Good Italian design is excellent but much of it is innovative for the sake of being innovative and can be very poor indeed, especially with shoes and garments. I'm afraid I seldom buy anything to wear in Italy unless it is in the league of Battistoni. Pound for pound quality English tailoring is still IMV far superior. Sure, Zegna does good cloth and there are superb tailors if you want a 10000 Euro suit but outside the realm of bespoke, there are expensive garments which simply do not hang well or last.
The television is so awful but that means I read a lot more.
The saddest thing though is that, although they can design nice cars, few get to drive them because the taxation system forces them towards the dullest and lowest powered diesel sh*tboxes imaginable. The Ferrari and Maserati are relative rarities and there are few performance Alfas around. When I drive my 156 GTA it excites comment amongst some but the majority are not even aware of the variant's existence.
BTW, it must be taste but I prefer Italian coffee to French by a mile.