Pablo Canavosio had been expected to be fit in time for the trip to Twickenham but his failure to recover from a knee injury, together with the absence of Simone Piccone and Pietro Travagli for the entire Six Nations, has led to Bergamasco being forced into emergency cover.
Bergamasco has spent time training with legendary Italian scrum-half and now coach Alessandro Troncon after a possible change of position was mooted but the speed of the switch has come as a shock.
Italy head coach Nick Mallett had publicly mentioned looking at Bergamasco as a possible No9 ahead of the 2011 World Cup but the 30-year-old has instead been thrown into the deep end far earlier than expected.
Leicester Tigers prop Martin Castrogiovanni returns to the Italian starting line up after a year's absence through injury, while Sergio Parisse captains the side from the back row.
French-born forward Jean-Francois Montauriol could make his debut from the replacements bench as the Italians look to pile more pressure on England.
A Masi (Biarritz); K Robertson (Viadana), G Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), G Garcia (Calvisano), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais), A Marcato (Benetton Treviso), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Francais); F Ongaro (Saracens), S Perugini (Stade Toulousain), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester), S Dellape (Toulon), M Bortolami (Gloucester), J Sole (Viadana), A Zanni (Calvisano), S Parisse (Stade Francais)
Replacements: C Festuccia (Racing Metro Paris), C Nieto (Gloucester), T Reato (Femi Rovigo), J-F Montauriol (Venezia), G Toniolatti (Capitolina), L McLean (Calvisano), M Pratichetti (Calvisano)