I'm new to contiki as well, and I share the same anxiety. Although it has always been a dream of mine, I've never traveled to Italy. I am nervous and excited all at the same time! I still can't believe I booked this trip (I am going on the same trip as you).
I'm new to contiki, I'm very excited yet very anxious as to what to expect. I have booked a simply italy tour for mid august 2012. If anyone has some helpful tips or stories to share please forward them on to me :)