He replaces Moray Low as head coach Andy Robinson seeks to secure Scotland's first win of the year. British Lion Euan Murray will provide prop cover on the bench.
Elsewhere in the team, Kelly Brown continues to progress through the return to play protocols after his concussion in the Calcutta Cup match, and is listed at No 8.
Robinson said today: "We have chosen Geoff at tight-head prop as he made a good impact when he was introduced on Sunday in both setpiece and open play.
"We have been watching Geoff's performances very closely since the A international win against the Irish at Netherdale back in January and he fully deserves this chance."
Robinson reiterated the team's determination to reward Scotland fans for their support this season against an Italian team that were "rightly lauded" for their win against France.
"We know from our own experience that Italy are formidable opponents, especially at the Stadio Flaminio, and our focus this week is on stepping up our performance on our home soil and producing a hard-nosed, complete 80-minute display that the players are capable of delivering and that will give our supporters something to cheer."
Paterson (Edinburgh); M Evans (Glasgow Warriors), Ansbro (Northampton), S Lamont (Scarlets), Danielli (Ulster); Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), Lawson (Gloucester); Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Ford (Edinburgh), Low (Glasgow Warriors), Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Kellock (Glasgow Warriors, captain), Hines (Leinster), Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), Brown (Saracens).
S Lawson (Gloucester), E Murray (Newcastle), Vernon (Glasgow Warriors), Strokosch (Gloucester), Blair (Edinburgh), Parks (Cardiff Blues), De Luca (Edinburgh).