Veteran scrum-half Alessandro Troncon has urged his Italy team-mates to put their defeat at the hands of France behind them and instead dedicate their time to closing the gap on the leading teams.
The Azzurri went down 56-13 in front of a sold-out Stadio Flaminio crowd in Rome.
The comprehensive loss was the heaviest of Italy's RBS 6 Nations campaign and ensured they finished with the wooden spoon as the competition's bottom team with no wins.
''We have lost badly,'' Troncon said. ''It's not going to be easy to overcome this blow, but we have to make sure our rugby continues to improve.''
Italy fully expected to avoid finishing bottom, having claimed the scalps of Wales - the winners of this year's competition - two years ago and then Scotland in 2004.
Troncon, 31, who extended his Italian record of appearances to 90 in the match against France, says the his team showed glimpses of their potential in the championship
but concedes they have some way to go yet before they can begin to match Europe's leading sides.
''We've had good moments against Ireland and England, but we didn't show much continuity,'' he said.
''At this level, when you make mistakes, you pay dearly. This is a tournament of six nations. We've faced the best teams in the world.''
Hooker Fabio Ongaro was also left despondent by their defeat to France and believes the final RBS 6 Nations table, where Italy were left with a minus 124 aggregate points total, was not a true reflection of how the Azzurri had played in the competition.
He lamented: ''We didn't deserve to end the Six Nations like this, considering the hard work we have done throughout the tournament.
''(Against France) we lacked the mental concentration in the second half,'' added Ongaro, referring to the final 15 minutes where Italy conceded four tries to a rampant French team.
''We had several opportunities in attack, but we failed to capitalise on them.''
Conor O'Shea will lead his side to matches against Fiji and Australia
30 March 2017, 2:36pm
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