Death - I took a look at some stuff online about the Italian grips. When you hold the weapon, does it end up being "in parallel" with your forearm, similar to a pistol grip? After the stuff I saw, I'm seriously wanting to try it, because I want something that "absorbs" more of my grip than a French, but I definitely don't want a pistol-grip. Do you know of any good places on the web I can read up about it? I'm just really curious about it; the only place I found was St. Louis Univ. site, but it seemed rather outdated.
The Italian grip is held very similarly to a pistol grip. Forefinger on the Ricasso, middle finger on the crossbar, thumb over top of the Ricasso. Very often, a strap known as a Martingale wraps around the pommel and wrist, in order to help affix the correct blade positioning (one must be careful, however, that the pommel can slide out from under the Martingale; according to the USFA, you can't use a device to aid in throwing-and-retrieving your blade).
Unfortunately, it's immensely difficult to find good information on Italian fencing. The best places I've found, so far, for information are as follows:
1) "The Science of Fencing," by William M. Gaugler (ISBN: 1884528058)
This is an incredibly good book on beginner-to-intermediate level fencing, and one of the only ones I've found which covers the Italian grip.
2) The Martinez Academy of Arms - http://www.martinez-destreza.com/
Maestro Ramon Martinez is one of the foremost scholars on classical schools of fencing. His academy has published numerous books and videos on Italian rapier, not to mention many other classical forms.
3) "La Spada e la sua Applicazione," (translation: The Sword and its Use) by Aurelio Greco
This is, without a doubt, THE best manual for instruction in the Italian school of sport-fencing that I have yet discovered. The only hiccup is that it's been out of print for nigh-on eighty years, now. And if you do happen to locate a copy, it is written entirely in Italian. So unless you've a good working knowledge of the language, or a friend who's willing to help you translate it, this one's pretty much out of the question.