Thanks to all who responded to my post about giving up on Italian....
Yesterday I finished the Italian tree, but I didn't do it by myself. About a month ago I'd had enough: I couldn't make any forward progress because I was too busy trying to keep all the subjects 'golden'. I posted my sentiments on here and received some helpful advice and constructive criticism. With those insights I was able to continue forward to the end and earn the Italian golden owl. Thank you all.
One of the problems with Duolingo is that it makes you so focused on earning lingots, keeping trees gold and holding on to streaks that we forget to just learn and enjoy. If all it's about is points then you're doing it wrong. I blew a massive streak after 6 months without missing a day because it got to the point where I was only doing the lessons to keep up the numbers. I don't care about the streak anymore. I know if I'm doing well.