Thank you Susannah. This is very helpful. And it is good to know that Chiavenna (the town I have selected to start my search based on the DNA evidence) is also one that you mention.
I have just been in contact with two other people who have been to Chiavenna and they assure me that there are very few Americans that come back to visit, and they will make it quite easy for me. They each claim to know the only person who speaks english in the town, one of them being the mayor, the other the local librarian.
With these personal references in town, and the information so adeptly outlined from you, I am hoping the fortune from my cookie last night "Travelling at this time would be a good investment of time and money," proves correct.
If you have read this far, thank you again, and unless I hear an objection, I will try and incorporate what you have told me into the wiktree Italian resource category when I return.