Italy centre Mirco Bergamasco is confident his side can be a major threat in next year's RBS 6 Nations tournament.
Bergamasco scored a try in his side's disappointing 13-10 loss to Scotland in Rome, which meant the Azzurri finished bottom of the table for the fifth time in seven years.
But Italy produced some promising performances over the course of the tournament, including a 18-18 draw with Wales in Cardiff and a battling 26-16 defeat in Ireland.
And Bergamasco believes they team are well on the way to achieving success.
He said: " We tried to play wide and fast, but we didn't keep to our game plan. The Scottish played well to win the game, but we are on the right track. We are progressing well and we showed it in this tournament."
Italy dominated the start of the match against Scotland and got their reward when Bergamasco gave them the lead, before the away side bounced back to hold a 10-7 advantage at half-time.
In the second half, the Azzuri pushed forward in search of a winning try but were left heartbroken after Chris Paterson sealed the win with a penalty three minutes from time.
Despite the result, Italian rugby chief Giancarlo Dondi was delighted with the performance and he backed up Bergamasco's belief that Italy are improving.
He said: "To lose the game with three minutes to go is sad, but I must admit we leave this tournament with high hopes.
''We have had the satisfaction of seeing Italy progressing and every game we played was a sell-out."