In November 2016, Italy picked up a historic win over a southern hemisphere powerhouse when they overcame South Africa in Florence by a 20-18 scoreline.
The mood ahead of 2018 itself however will be interesting for Conor O'Shea's side with this year's Six Nations not having gone swimmingly with five defeats from five.
Irishman O'Shea joined Ger to talk about the progress he has been trying to make with the senior team and further down the pyramid to push Italian rugby closer to their five rivals in the Six Nations, with the next tournament kicking off next Spring.
"I think a lot progress to be honest," said O'Shea of the showings during this November's window when the Azzurri overcame Fiji but lost to both Argentina and South Africa fairly convincingly based on the scorelines at least.
"If you watch the games and the performances were probably better than our results and it's going to be difficult for us to get results in the short term but we've unearthed a few young players and if you look at the South Africa game, we arguably played better against them in losing than we did beating them the year before."
Italy Head Coach Conor O'Shea ©INPHO/Donall Farmer
Getting scores on the board is the issue he wants to iron out while he faces performance levels at progressed.
"We're definitely improving and that's the biggest thing. We just know the levels we have to get to and how far we have to catch up. We're making progress both at franchise level and national level," he added.
In charge of Italy since 2016 after leaving Harlequins, O'Shea is getting to grips with adaptation on and off the field.
"I'm getting there with the language which is the important thing but I'm sure I say the odd wrong thing," he said.
"It's probably easy when you're able to prepare but it's probably in the emotional state that it's more difficult to get that across. But everyone communicates in the same way and we're bringing in people to help our communication style and understand that we all learn differently. So we're doing some normal business practice things like starting to work with insights in terms of our profile and learning preferences.
"Everyone speaks English if you want them to but I wasn't going to go into this and hide behind speaking English the whole time which would be the wrong thing. I might make a lot of grammatical errors when it comes to my Italian.
"And then in terms of the culture, there's just a massive passion amongst these players, the staff and the supporters to get things right. And I think everyone knows where they've let themselves down - not in the last few years, it's something that's happened over 20-odd years of professionalism - we haven't made the changes necessary to keep up with the people and people aren't going to wait for us either."