Italians put a lot of loving effort into making every detail in their lives beautiful in an individual way and Italian food is a perfect expression of this ancient culture of beauty.
Of course Italian food is far from being just pizza and pasta. There is a great variety of dishes appreciated all around the world. However, ItalianFan, completely disagree with your calling other cuisines "feeble imitations". For instance, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese cuisines have as distinct a style, as much variety as Italian cuisine and much older history. As for European cuisines, who imitates who is merely a matter of point of view.
Also I do not understand in what way appreciating other cuisines would damage Italian cuisine. The French are as particular about their cuisine and local products as you are, but French restaurants are able to serve their food without being "contaminated" by their many Japanese or Korean neighbours (for instance). As much as I worship Italian cuisine, liek IceAlisa I couldn't eat only Italian. It is like reading literature from just one country. Why not keep an open mind?