The 31-year-old has been handed the captaincy while Alessandro Troncon recovers from injury.
The flanker wants the Azzurri to break new ground following their successful World Cup campaign, which included victories over Tonga and Canada.
Italy have only ever won two games in the RBS 6 Nations - beating Scotland in their 2000 tournament debut and 2003's victory over Wales.
And De Rossi wants to double this tally and send shockwaves around the rugby world.
He said: "We are very motivated. We have never achieved two wins in the same RBS 6 Nations tournament and this is our intention and what Kirwan has asked of us. I believe we can do it."
Italy manager Marco Bollesan admits the fomer Genoa docker's indomitable spirit is the reason behind his selection as skipper.
Bollesan said: "Besides Andrea's great technical quality and vision, he is also able to guide and motivate the rest of his team-mates and that is crucial.
"That is why he is the right candidate to replace Troncon as captain."
But De Rossi, capped 26 times, is aware that the appointment is not long term.
"Troncon is not only a key player for Italy but our leader," he said. "I hope he is able to return to play as soon as possible.
"If he does come back before the end of the tournament, I want him to guide the team. I know this post is only temporary but it gives me great pride."