I have exhausted sending letters to the priest at the church with no response and I am planning to maybe take a trip and show up at the church to see if I can view the records. This is for the small citta of Bella, Potenza. Has anyone done this? Do you think I would be rejected after traveling from the US?
If you don't speak Italian hire a guide to do your talking for you to talk to the priest to get you in the door. You sure you have the right church their are 2 listed in the book in the town of Bella What years are you looking for?
In some Diocese priests have been required to send all their old records to the Diocese archives where they can usually be consulted by appointment. This may be why he hasn't responded. Most priests are usually too busy to do research although they will usually do copies of records for which you have a date. Many priests today look after more than one parish and often arrive at the church just before mass and leave right after. You need to be in touch with the priest before hand. If you will be there more than one day, go to mass the first day and ask to do the search during mass the next day. So, check with the Diocese and make sure they don't have the records. Then tackle the priest. Good luck. Be sure to ask to see any Stati d'anime first. Ask permission to take photos of the records and leae a donation.