Sergio Parisse believes Italy can take positives from the narrow defeat to Wales into their final RBS Six Nations tie against France.
The Azzurri showed plenty of fight in Saturday's 20-15 reversal against the reigning champions in Rome.
Only a late try from Tom Shanklin prevented the hosts from claiming their first points of the tournament, in what represented the best performance of the competition by the Italians.
Having conceded a total of 100 points and 12 tries in losing to England, Ireland and Scotland, captain Parisse, who was voted man of the match, now feels his team are on the path to recovery.
"We cannot be happy with the defeat but I am extremely satisfied with how the team played," said Parisse.
"We cannot forget that Wales are the defending champions and are a great side.
"They are the only European team that in November beat a team from the southern hemisphere.
"And yet we made them suffer and work hard for the victory."
Nick Mallett's men now have a week to prepare for Saturday's game against title-chasing France, with the wooden spoon looming large, and Stade Francais flanker Parisse knows the scale of the challenge his side faces.
"Our performance against Wales has given us a lot of confidence," Parisse added. "But we must continue to work hard, we cannot be happy with what we have done so far.
"France is a very difficult rival and the key will be to physically recover in time for Saturday's game.
"Many of us suffered cramps in the last stages of the game against Wales, so it will be important to rest well and recover because the game against France will be extremely difficult."