I think the most important decision you need to make for your first DSLR is which brand to go with as that will determine what lens compatibility you have from there on (switching brands can be expensive). Keep in mind that if you go with Canon then your crop factor lenses (EF-S) will not fit a full frame camera (EF). The same is somewhat true for Nikon; they will physically fit, but the image will have a lot of vignetting.
So, pick a brand (I'm partial to Canon for no particular reason other than they were on sale when I bought my first) and buy whatever your budget allows for. Unless you want video I think most of the Canon offerings are adequate for a first time DSLR.
As far as lenses go, the wider the range the more flexible it will be. I'm partial to prime lenses myself (but I also have a strong back to carry them all). The 18-55, 18 is going to be your wide angle and 55 is more portrait length. You might want to get something longer if you want to zoom in on something (if you're going to a zoo and you want to get close up with the animals or you want some detail of a ceiling in Italy)
I was in Italy recently and I went to a number of churches, the 18-55 is fine for getting everything in the frame, but if you want to focus in on one thing you may want another lens.
Also, regardless of the camera, the on camera flash sucks. Get yourself a 430exII or better if you want to use flash.