Italy Rugby Federation president Giancarlo Dondi has revealed his delight at the prospect of world champions England coming to Rome on the first weekend of the RBS 6 Nations tournament.
While John Kirwan's Azzurri are not expected to triumph, the Stadio Flaminio is set for a sell-out on Sunday, February 15.
Even though captain Martin Johnson has retired and several of England's triumphant World Cup squad are currently injured, including goal-kicking star Jonny Wilkinson, the match promises to be a memorable occasion for the Italians.
And Dondi confirmed that the Italian players were relishing the chance to face the English, in what will be Sir Clive Woodward's team's first Test since the World Cup.
"It's wonderful to play against the world champions, especially if you think we are the first team in Europe to play against them," said Dondi.
"Of course they are favourites, but I hope our fans will see a great game of rugby."