After you buy gear and pay for lessons, you probably won't have much for a new bike. A great used bike is Ducati's Monster 620ie. The engine has a wide, torquey, powerband, is smooth running, and gets terrific mileage. It's also lightweight, and has good handling. And the best thing is the seat height is only 29.9 inches.
The Japanese 600's can intimidate even the best of riders, so forget about them. The Monster 620 is the most popular bike in Europe for many reasons. My friend's wife has a Ducati monster 800 S2R and she loves it. She even raced it.