Italy have unveiled plans to enter teams in the Magners League in a bid to improve the fortunes of the national team. Ireland's four provinces compete in the league.
The Federazione Italiana Rugby want to join the competition, which also consists of clubs from Wales and Scotland.
“The federation board has decided unanimously to add the Italian rugby movement to the Magners League,” said a federation statement.
“We will quickly adopt proposals to guarantee the participation of four clubs in the League or two select XVs.”
The select XVs are likely to be amalgamations of existing Italian clubs or a collection of Italian players who are not already signed up by top teams in England or France.
The federation also confirmed the formation of a committee to run their bid to host the 2015 World Cup.