Italy rugby chief Giancarlo Dondi insists the future is bright for the Azzurri if they can continue at the level they reached during their RBS 6 Nations opener against Ireland.
Pierre Berbizier's team gave the Irish a major scare in Dublin before finally succumbing to a
26-16 defeat at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.
Ramiro Pez had the chance to pull the Azzurri to within four points of their hosts at 23-19 with a late penalty, but he was unable to take the opportunity as Italy came up just short.
Despite the defeat though, Dondi saw plenty to be hopeful about from his team.
''It was a great display from us, I saw a beautiful Italy, especially in the first half,'' the president of the Italian rugby federation said.
''We are going into this tournament with optimism. I hope we will keep going like Saturday, I'm sure if we keep this spirit and quality, we will make an impact in the RBS 6 Nations 2006.''
Next up for Italy is a home match with England, who started their RBS 6 Nations tournament with a comprehensive 47-13 win over last year's Grand Slam winners Wales.