Lucu will pair up with Bordeaux-Begles club partner, flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert, as Les Bleus look to wrap up top spot in the group and set up a potential quarter-final clash with defending champions South Africa, who are widely expected to end up second in Pool B behind Ireland.
Should they lose without picking up two bonus points, France will be eliminated and the Azzurri would go through, and Les Bleus are well aware that Italy will not look anything like the side who were destroyed 96-17 by New Zealand last week.
"They're a Latin team and they're wounded. That's when things get dangerous. We have to be very careful because they will have nothing to lose," Galthie told a press conference on Wednesday, saying France were now in the "knockout phase" of the tournament.
"We played them in Rome last year in the Six Nations and it was a very tough test," he added, referring to France's 29-24 victory.
"We're expecting Italy to be completely different than against New Zealand," flanker Charles Ollivon said.
"We debriefed out game against them in the Six Nations and did not look too much into what they've done against New Zealand. It will be very physical in the first 20 minutes and they will not miss as many tackles as against the All Blacks."
Dupont was ruled out of the game after fracturing his cheekbone in a head-to-head clash during France's 96-0 win against Namibia and he only made his return to the squad at the weekend, resuming light training as he awaits the green light from his surgeon to start playing rugby again.
The only other change from the team who started against Namibia is Gregory Alldritt returning to take the number eight shirt after nursing a minor knee injury, forming the third row with captain Charles Ollivon and Anthony Jelonch, who was again preferred to Francois Cros.
As expected, Lucu will start while Bapstite Couilloud was named among the 'finishers'.
"Max and Matthieu complement each other. Technically, Max is very good, he has never disappointed and his kicking game is outstanding," said Galthie.
Italy have not beaten France in 10 years.
15-Thomas Ramos, 14-Damian Penaud, 13-Gael Fickou, 12-Jonathan Danty, 11-Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 10-Matthieu Jalibert, 9-Maxime Lucu, 7-Charles Ollivon, 8-Gregory Alldritt, 6-Anthony Jelonch, 5-Thibaud Flament, 4-Cameron Woki, 3-Uini Atonio, 2- Peato Mauvaka, 1-Cyril Baille.
16-Pierre Bourgarit, 17-Reda Wardi, 18-Dorian Aldegheri, 19-Romain Taofifenua, 20-Francois Cros, 21-Baptiste Couilloud, 22-Yoram Moefana, 23-Melvyn Jaminet