Pancetta is often referred to as Italian bacon. Unlike English and American bacon, which are taken from the sides and belly of the pig, may be smoked, and are usually cut into slices, pancetta comes only from the belly, is salt-cured but not smoked, and is generally sold rolled up into sausage shapes.
If you come across pancetta vacuum-packed in plastic, you should use it within a week of its expiration date. Quite likely, though, you bought it wrapped in paper, in which case, you should store it wrapped tightly in the refrigerator and use it within a week.
Here are some of the world's great recipes that feature pancetta. Make them all in the next few months and you will be very happy, indeed!