Hi and thanks. After I posted here I went to the US Embassy site and found a section for requesting vital documents (birth, marriage, etc.) from Italy. After each section they show the form you need to complete and send to Italy. Each form requests a copy of valid identification. http://italy.usembassy.gov/acs/records.html
With that said I to still think this is strange as others seem to have less formal experiences.
BTW - the genealogist I found back when Ancestry had their first "Hire and Expert". Only use them a few times on minor things, list this one. I don't think it’s shady but I do want more assurance....I shall continue to investigate.