Italian rugby union bosses are to bid for the World Cup after requesting candidature documents from the International Rugby Board, the Italian Rugby Federation says on its website.
The FIR will bid for either the 2015 or 2019 editions with the IRB due to make a decision on the host countries for both tournaments in July 2009.
New Zealand hosts the next edition of what is billed as the third largest sporting event in the world after the Olympic Games and the football World Cup.
FIR president Giancarlo Dondi says this is an important decision which signals a new milestone in the growth of Italian rugby.
Italy have played in every World Cup since the inaugural tournament in Australia and New Zealand in 1987.