Captain Marco Motta believes Italy have "enormous potential" as the Azzurrini finalise their preparations for the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Sweden.
"I'm certain that we are a very good team," said the right-back, who spent the first part of the season at Udinese and the second at Roma.
"We are more mature than ever because most of the players have been getting first-team games at their clubs. This is a key factor in becoming a winning team at this level.
"We have enormous potential and I'm proud to be the captain."
By far the most successful nation in the competition, with five victories in the nine most recent Under-21 championships, Pierluigi Casiraghi's side will meet Sweden, Belarus and Serbia in Group A.
First up is a 16 June meeting with Serbia, who beat Italy 1-0 in their first game of what proved to be a disappointing 2007 finals campaign.
"We have to make amends for that defeat against Serbia because it still hurts," the 23-year-old Motta said. "This time around we have to start on the right foot.
"We are Italy and we always have to try to win every game we play. This must be our main strength in the tournament.
"There are two years of hard work at stake and we don't want to waste them as we did two years ago."
The squad have been continuing their pre-tournament preparations at Rome's La Borghesiana sports centre ahead ahead of next Tuesday's last friendly test against Denmark in Farum.
[UEFA Euro U21 Championships 2009]