Old Italian record can be difficult to read at first glance – especially if you have no knowledge of the language or are expecting it to be similar to American records. They can be quite detailed and some, like the marriage record posted courtesy of Cosenza Exchange are completely hand written.
But most Italian vital records are similar to the birth act posted on the right where a standard form is used and the remaining information is filled in as the event occurred. Because these forms were so standard, much of the *important* information is easy to pick out once you know where to look.
There are several great sites available to help you decipher the old handwriting and Family Search even offers a three part online course for this on their site. Each course is between 25 and 30 minutes long and covers
The Italian Alphabet, Italian Words and Phrases and Reading Italian Records.
Another excellent site I really enjoyed going through is
Italian Family Search. There are several examples of vital records and Italian Handwriting sheets available for download and which make a great reference guide.