First a little bit of background.
I am a graduate student (Bachelor) who will finish the Master degree in June or July at most. I am working on my thesis at my university with a professor which I know quite well. I am getting a Master of Electronics Engineering, thus my thesis includes some practical work and I got to know a lot of people at the Information Engineering department. I think that the work they do here is great and valuable, and so is the people.
Meanwhile there's a friend of mine who works for a quite big company near my local university. They are hiring young graduates for open-ended positions and I am very likely to be hired if I do an interview. My friend was with me at the university for five years now, we did much work together and I'd love to work with him, plus he tells me that the work environment is great.
The problem is that I would love to teach. Some people think I am quite good at what I study and quite good at explaining things to people. I love the idea of spreading knowledge, helping students understand things and pretty much all what's involved in the teaching process. To achieve this I will need to apply (and hopefully win) for a PhD, that I thought I can do at my local university because of what stated in the first paragraph, and because my girlfriend is currently studying here too so moving is an option that I'd like to avoid for now.
What keeps me to just jump in the Academic world is the fact that in my country (Italy) things seems to be a little stagnant, there are great people in their forties that are still associate (or researchers!) while some old professors (very, very bad at teaching) hold more than one chair. And of course from the economic point of view there might be a gap as high as 10x between industry and academy, but happiness can't be bought of course.
My question then is: given the fact that I am sure I would love to become a professor but the road might be hard (too hard maybe) would you advise me to take a PhD (that's three years here) and at least try the academic path or leave it already and hit the job market head on? Are there many downsights in starting an industry career after a PhD?