Bortolami's last Test came against Argentina in June last year and he missed the entirety of this season's RBS 6 Nations through injury.
The former Azzurri skipper has returned to the fold this summer though as Jacques Brunel's side take on South Africa and Samoa.
And as the 32-year-old lock prepares to add to his 88 international caps, Bortolami is confident Italy can kick on from finishing fourth in the Six Nations.
"Joining up with the national team is like catching up with an old friend," he said.
"And it's something you always enter with a lot of enthusiasm, nothing can inspire you like the Azzurro. I've rediscovered the atmosphere which I'd left a year ago.
"The coach has a lot of faith in the squad and this is an important base to build from, lots of young guys who got their first taste of international rugby last year now have some experience.
"That will be important for a tour that is both important and we expect to be tough. There is a lot of competition within the squad and that's important to grow together as a squad.
"South Africa and Samoa are tough opponents, they are ahead of us in the rankings but with the attitude we've shown in the first few days in camp, this Italian side can pick up some important results."