Reuters - Sun, 14 Mar 14:23:00 2010
The home side ran in six tries, including two from centre David Marty, and earned 16 points from the reliable boot of scrumhalf Morgan Parra.
Italy, who had recorded a rare win over Scotland in their previous outing, had to be content with two penalties from wing Mirco Bergamasco and late consolation tries from substitutes Carlo Del Fava and Pablo Canavosio, both converted by Bergamasco.
France will chase their first victory in the championship since 2007 and their first grand slam since 2004 when they host England on the Stade de France pitch next Saturday.
Italy were dominated in most areas, notably the lineouts, and paid dearly for poor discipline while France relied on a deadly mix of power and skill to remain the only side undefeated in the tournament after four matches.
Number eight Imanol Harinordoquy showed France the way, touching down between the posts from a fine pass by Parra five minutes into the game, played on a grey, windy afternoon on the outskirts of Paris.
Italy were down to 14 men after centre Gonzalo Garcia received a yellow card for a late tackle on wing Marc Andreu when France scored their next two tries, courtesy of Marty.
The visitors trailed 22-0 after 25 minutes and did not get on the scoreboard until Bergamasco converted a penalty five minutes before the teams changed sides.
France increased their lead early in the second half with a penalty by Parra. Bergamasco then scored one but France, whose only defeat to Italy was in 1997, remained in total control.
Winger Andreu, winning his second cap and starting for the first time, then stormed through a static Italian defence after a neat combination by the French backs to add another try, putting France 32-6 up.
The fans at Stade de France were soon treated to another moment of brilliance and a fifth try, by veteran centre Yannick Jauzion. The conversion gave France a 39-6 lead on the hour-mark.
After substitute flanker Alexandre Lapandry added a sixth try with a powerful run and Parra obliged with the conversion, France coach Marc Lievremont made a few changes to rest some players with the clash against England in mind.
France dropped their guard, allowing Italy a burst of pride in the form of two tries in quick succession that made the scoreboard slightly more acceptable.