Italian cakes are rich, elaborate creations that can be surprisingly easy to prepare. Less fussy than French-style cakes, Italian ones tend to use lighter fillings, like pastry cream, whipped cream, and ricotta cream. Layers are often moistened with liqueurs or liqueur-flavored syrups before being spread with a filling, and the outsides are often finished simply with a dusting of amaretti crumbs or chocolate shavings.
I have deliberately avoided the types of cakes now popular in the pastry shops of many Italian cities, which are overly derivative of the modern French style. Filled with mousses and Bavarian creams, they are indeed lovely cakes but have little or no relation to the Italian baking tradition. Italians love to experiment with new foods, especially American ones, but I feel no need to include their experiments with foreign flavors and techniques.