Italy coach Nick Mallett has appointed Sergio Parisse as his new captain.
The Stade FrancaisÂ number eightÂ replaces Marco Bortolami as the Azzurri skipper and will make his debut in his new role against Ireland in Dublin on February 2 in their opening game of theÂ RBS 6 Nations.
"We must look to the future," said Mallett. "We are ready to begin a new chapter in the history of Italian rugby.
"Sergio Parisse is an athlete with personality, respected by his team-mates, by referees and by rivals, all of which are crucial aspects to fulfilling the role of captain of the national team.
"I believe that together, we can work in the best way for the future of the national team."
Parisse, who has played in 48 Tests since making his international debut in 2002 and is in his third campaign with Stade Francais, could not hide his delight.
"It's an immense joy," said the Argentina-born player. "I cannot deny it. But I'm ready to take over this responsibility. I can't wait to take over this role.
"I have spoken at length with Mallett and I know my duties. I know what has motivated the coach'sÂ decision to choose me and what is expected of me."
Parisse believes that this new role will not affect him.
"I haven't changed in the past and I will not change now," he said. "I will continue to work, to try to take the best decisions possible for my team on and off the pitch.
"I would like to give an example with my performances just as Marco Bortolami has done up to now.
"To be captain of this national team is a privilege and an honour, and I will do everything possible to prove that I'm worthy of this role."