The electrical current in Europe is 220-240 volts, in the US it is 110-120 volts. A US appliance that you bring over here and plug into a wall using only an ADAPTER will be ruined immediately. You will need to have a TRANSFORMER to lower the voltage to an acceptable level for your appliance to function and to survive.
An ADAPTER allows the plug to enter the outlet. A TRANSFORMER alters the current. Sometimes you need an ADAPTER and sometimes you need a TRANSFORMER. You have to be aware of this or you will ruin an appliance, or even cause a fire.
Small domestic appliances should be bought here in Italy. This is particularly true of appliances that use electrical resistance to generate heat, like hairdryers. You can get a cheap one for about 15 euros that will work fine. If you bring yours over it will probably be ruined.
Almost all laptop computers and camera battery chargers already have transformers that allow them to work in both the US and in Europe. Look on the transformer at the “input”. Be sure it says “110-240”. Then all you need to have is an adapter to allow you to plug it in. It is recommended that when you get here you buy a new cord with the proper plug that will connect directly to your transformer. That way you don’t have to worry about the adapter as a separate element.
Some students buy multi-purpose transformers in the States that will work with small electronics, such as camera rechargers. These work fine if you know what you are doing. These usually do not work with appliances like hair dryers.
On one of the very first days in Genoa we will go as a group to an electrical supply store that can sell you the adapters or transformers you need, or the European cord for your laptop computer transformer.