In Italy, I bought a stovetop espresso maker - a Moka Express by Bialetti. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moka_Express. This pot makes some of the best coffee I have ever tasted (helped, of course, by the fact that I brought back some packages of coffee as well). I posted a stock photo here, but my pot is a pretty blue enamel.
I just made myself a little pot after writing my irritated post about the state of my vacuum and by the second sip was in my contented little place. Add a little milk and some sugar and this coffee seriously vies with dark choclolate as an example of pure bliss.
I bought my pot from this nice elderly lady who had a small shop on the Corso Vittoro Emanuel in Rome. She spoke absolutely no English. This is the moment where it sunk in that I knew more Italian than I thought. I was able to communicate (augmented by various gestures) that I wanted a blue, middle-sized pot. She told me how to care for it (never wash it with soap, just rinse it with water. No machine washing). She also told me how to use milk to make a cafe latte if I wanted. We also chatted for a while about how long I was in Rome (a month), why (studying), what (law) and that I was going to return in two years with my sixteen year old daughter. It was good to be able to have an entire conversation in Italian.
The other thing I thought was fantastic is that she'd package up the item and I'd say, "Grazie." and she'd reply "Grazie Lei." Then, she told me the amount and I gave her my money and said, "Grazie." She replied, "Grazie Lei." Then when she gave me my change, I said, "Grazie." She replied, "Grazie Lei." I finally realized that we were going to continue to say "Thank you" back and forth without cessation unless I bid her goodbye and went on my way. It was fun. I hope she's still there when I go back.