It takes time more than anything else to make panettone. But don't let this put you off -- most of it is rising time, where you let the dough do it's thing in a nice, warm place while you get other things done. You may want to consider doing this over two days and letting the dough rise in the fridge overnight for the first rise -- the next day all you have to do is add the filling of raisins and candied fruit, let it rise for the second time and bake.
Before starting, make sure you have eggs and butter at room temperature and the right equipment, particularly the right sized baking tins. I found this the most difficult part of trying to replicate this recipe -- the tin! So I found a way to do it using regular old food tins (four 28-ounce size tins), you could also use similarly sized coffee cans (Carol Field suggests using two 2-pound coffee cans for this amount). You don't need anything fancy for this, but it is quicker if you are lucky enough to have a bread mixer or a stand mixer. I did this by hand (wooden spoons, whisks, and elbow grease) so you can do this with really basic equipment too. A large, wide bowl, preferably heavy (such as ceramic or glass), is handy if you're doing this by hand.
The classic panettone is made with golden raisins, candied citron and candied orange peel. Don't like candied fruit? This is the beauty of homemade panettone -- you can create it how you like it. Substitute the raisins with chocolate chips and the candied peel with chopped, lightly toasted hazelnuts. I've even seen these done with marron glacés (candied chestnuts). But I love this combination of dates, walnuts and figs. —Emiko