Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) president Giancarlo Dondi believes Italian rugby was given a big fillip by the national side's performances in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Once again the Azzurri finished bottom of the table with only a draw in Wales preventing a clean sweep of defeats but this year the Italians were competitive in all five matches.
Dondi praised the role of French coach Pierre Berbizier in turning around the fortunes of the newest members of the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
"We did improve a lot especially after we appointed Pierre Berbizier which really took us to another dimension,'' Dondi said.
"OK, we didn't win a game in this RBS 6 Nations 2006 season but we really played some good rugby and the response of the press and fans towards us has been more than positive.
"Certainly we didn't take the chance to win games against Wales, Scotland and especially against Ireland but I didn't see any large score against us and against big teams like England and the first half in France we really showed great organisation and if we kept more focused maybe we could have got the result as well.
"But we still had a great tournament and we are proud of ourselves."
Dondi repeated his plan to move Italy's RBS 6 Nations base away from Rome unless the Stadio Flaminio is upgraded.
"Certainly we are looking forward to improve things next year when we must get the points we missed in this tournament," said Dondi.
"But first the Rome council most improve things in the Stadio Flaminio.
"They must meet and satisfy our request or for sure the next RBS 6 Nations Championship, Italy will play away from Rome."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.