Check out this short, smart guide to Italian pronunciation at Miss Expatria's delightful blog. Following her guidelines will save save you from embarrassing mistakes, and, I hope, give you the confidence to try your Italian.
And, I completely agree with her suggestion--it's one I make all the time--if you are going to Italy, take some time and learn some basic phrases.
It's not that you'll need to speak Italian, you can get by just fine without it. But it's fun, it will add to your enjoyment, and your efforts will be appreciated.
Plus, in my opinion, it's important to know basic polite phrases like please, thank you, and excuse me wherever you travel. Knowing a bit more is fun, but these basics are essential.
15-minute Italian (book and CD), a fine short course on basic phrases with little grammar, but much good vocabulary.
Learn Italian Pod.com offers loads of free podcasts (or you can listen on your computer) including basic phrases, How-to's in Italian (for example, how to order in a restaurant), and beginning through advanced language lessons.
If you have Italian language resources that have worked for you, please let me know. And, of course, I'd love to hear your stories about speaking Italian on your trips.