Italian rugby supremo Giancarlo Dondi has called on his side to finish the RBS 6 Nations in style, even though the Azzurri now look almost certain to end up with the wooden spoon.
Italy slumped to their third successive defeat on Saturday when they lost 18-10 to Scotland at Murrayfield, a result that left them propping up the table.
Of the other nations, only England have failed to pick up a victory so far and they host Italy at Twickenham in the next round of matches in two weeks' time.
Andy Robinson's team are in transition and although they are a pale imitation of Sir Clive Woodward's World Cup-winning outfit, Dondi admits it will take something special for Italy to get anything out of that match.
Italy's final match then sees them host France at the Stadio Flaminio, which in Dondi's eyes is an equally difficult prospect for John Kirwan's troops.
Looking ahead to the matches against Europe's big guns, the FIR president said: "Now we have to be at our best - and even better.
"We have to play our best games against two very good sides like the English and French. We have to honour the Azzurri shirt with pride and determination, starting in two weeks at Twickenham."
Dondi was disappointed his side failed to secure their first win of the tournament as they slumped to defeat against the Scots.
"I saw two different games on Saturday at Murrayfield," he said. "The first half we played better than the Scots, with 60% ball possession and we pushed then back for most of the time.
"In the second we looked confused and without determination, making numerous mistakes. I was a bit disappointed about the mistakes we made with the kicks.
"I believe we wasted at least three easy penalty kicks and one unbelievable drop goal, and in rugby you can't miss all that stuff. In the end we paid for it."
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.