One of the greatest parts of being Italian American is knowing your heritage and culture. Many Italian Americans are aware of their heritage but only through family storytelling and no real tangible photos, names, or locations of their original Italian ancestors.
An amazing feeling is knowing who are you and where you come from. You are American but knowing your roots as an Italian is really a wonderful feeling and a sense of full cultural identity. Part of knowing your roots requires research, education and an open mind. When some people embark on finding relatives it usually turns up negative because you can get frustrated with the Italian translations and lack of information. But today, there are so many resources to help you find your ancestors, whether they were immigrants or portions of them still in live in Italy.
A really great resource is Ancestory.com its an online archival system that allows you to retrieve information from archived historical documents filed with various government offices. There is a fee for joining and requesting the information-- but I say, if you're really passionate about your heritage and family then consider this a contribution to your education for you and your children. Good luck and if anyone has a cool story about reconnecting with their Italian families, do share!!
Another great book available on Amazon about Italian Geneology: