After getting feedback from the online forums, I have decided to take the plunge and get my documents translated into Italian. It turns out that even though I'll ultimately need to get the documents (some of them at least) authenticated by the NY consulate I don't necessarily need to use their approved translators like I might if I was going through them. Detroit is not as picky apparently, so I am using a translator that many people recommend, Gabriella Einaga (gabriella_einaga AT hotmail DOT com).
I sent my great-grandfathers marriage and death certificate, my grandfather's birth and death certificate, my dad's birth and marriage certificate, my birth and marriage certificate, and my sons' birth certificates. I'll need to forward my grandfather's marriage certificate once I get it. From what I learned online, I may not need any birth or death certificates from the females in my family tree, but we'll see.
The cost is reasonable, between $15 and $20 for most vital records. Possibly more for some.
Only waiting for two more items. One is the apostille for my great-grandfather's birth certificate. That was old, so there's a chance they might not do it. If they don't, I'll need to use their rejection letter to obtain a court ordered release (and probably get an a.k.a. added as well at the same time).
If I get that and if I get my grandfather's marriage certificate, then all I'll need to do is get them translated too and I can make an initial appointment with the consulate in Detroit.