Gloucester have announced the signing of Italy captain Marco Bortolami on a two-year contract.
The 25-year-old lock will link up with the English Premiership club this summer, moving to Kingsholm from French Championship outfit Narbonne.
Bortolami has won 45 caps, and he skippered Italy during their opening two games in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship against Ireland and England.
His signing represents a major coup for Gloucester, who are among this season's Premiership title contenders and also through to the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
"I am delighted to be joining Gloucester, and I am looking forward to the challenge of playing club rugby in England," said Bortolami.
"There were a number of clubs who expressed an interest in signing me, but I was extremely impressed when I met Dean Ryan (head coach) and he outlined his vision for Gloucester.
"The club has a very strong squad, quality coaching staff and excellent training facilities. I have also heard much about the passionate and loyal group of supporters at Kingsholm.
"All the ingredients are there for long-term success. I am keen to play a central role in it."
Ryan added: "He is a top quality second-row, an outstanding prospect who could potentially become world-class.
"He has been having a storming Six Nations, is 25, and is his national captain. To sign someone of his ability is fantastic for us.
"We wanted more quality in the second-row, and he is the right option. Sometimes, when we are without Alex Brown, we lack a bit of expertise, but Marco will give us that.
"They are pretty similar players. He is a top quality athlete, and a lot of people were in the race for him. He is a major addition to our squad."
Bortolami made his Test debut as a 20-year-old, and is currently spearheading an Italian revival under new coach Pierre Berbizier, which was evident from highly-charged displays against Ireland and England.
Italy continue their RBS 6 Nations campaign against France in Paris on Saturday.
England Under-18 head coach John Fletcher insists his young side will be better for the experience after beating Italy in the bronze final to round out their 2015 Rugby Europe U18 Championship campaign in style.