get a good UV filter for your lens and you don't have to worry too much about keeping it clean. Just wipe it with whatever. ( I know, your still SUPPOSED to use a lens cloth, but eh, I've had good results with my shirt).
As for grip, i bought a cheap off brand one, cant remember what brand, but i think it was under $100 and it works like a dream.
Have fun on your trip! I would love to go to Italy!