"Italy has always had a magnetic north pull on my psyche." Frances Mayes, "Under the Tuscan Sun"
You can taste it if you close your eyes, the flavor we all associate with Italian food. It takes me back to ice skating as a boy and buying pizza by the slice and to dinner at any of my wife's Italian family's homes. To me the most important flavor is oregano. Here's the spice mix we keep on hand for pizzas, meatball sandwichs, red sauces.
3 parts crushed dried oregano leaves
2 parts crushed, dried basil leaves
1 part dried thyme leaves
1/4 part garlic powder
Optional additions. 1 part dried rosemary leaves (crush them so they don't stab you); 1 part dried marjoram; 1/2 part crushed red pepper flakes or chipotle.
Just mix them together in a jar and shake before using.