Ireland coach Declan Kidney and team captain Brian O'Driscoll held a media conference prior to training and highlighted the threat the Italians will pose in Sunday's game.
Kidney said: "Italy has always been a formidable side for us. In the fixture last year, if a couple of kicks had gone over it would have been a draw. Like all things in sport, Italy will beat Ireland sometime.
"Their athleticism is something I admire. Some people put it down as physicality and their statistics at the scrum and the lineout are very strong.
"There is a press defence that doesn't change from week to week and the pitch (Stadio Flaminio) is slightly smaller, less space.
"It is easy to spot that some of Italy's players are playing in France because if you make a mistake, they can easily get 7-10 points up.
"Italy plays in a way I admire and there is nobody better than Nick Mallett to get the best out of teams.
"He can get that little bit extra out of players. If you take the 17 points off what England scored last week, there was nothing in the game."
Asked in the media conference if Italy are the weakest team in the tournament, Kidney answered: "Those are your words not mine. This is a Test match, we are representing our country.
"Everybody who is a sports person knows that any given team can beat any given team on any day. I'll be delighted with a one-point win."
O'Driscoll also pointed out that Italy will be using last week's game against England as a motivational factor for Sunday's clash with his side.
"That wasn't the Italian team at Twickenham that we have come to expect over the years. They gifted England 17 points early on and it is a long way to have to come back.
"They will look to their normal game, play hard, physical rugby and I'm sure they will be hard to beat," he said.