Ulster pulled off an unconvincing 25-19 win over Aironi in their RaboDirect PRO12 clash at the Stadio Zaffanella on Saturday.
Tries from Ian Whitten, Dan Tuohy and Craig Gilroy helped Ulster maintain their perfect start to the season with victory over Aironi.
Ulster opened the scoring in the 17th minute with an unconverted try from Ian Whitten, following some excellent build-up play. And the Irish side would not have to wait long to add a second try.
An excellent attack launched by Ian Humphreys laid the platform for Dan Tuohy to cross. Ulster's second try, converted by Humphreys, came after Aironi had reduced the defecit through a Naas Olivier penalty.
But any hopes the visitors had of running away with the match were quickly extinguished when the Italians struck back through a try to Kiwi no.8 Nick Williams on 30 minutes. Williams' score followed Olivier's second penalty of the match, and the South African's successful conversion edged his side in front.
However, Ulster didn't trail for long, as Humphrey's mammoth penalty attempt sailed between the posts on the stroke of half-time to give his side a 13-15 advantage.
The ding-dong battle continued into the opening stages of the second half. Olivier's 45th minute penalty notched the home side back in front, before enterprising play from Ulster's Paul Marshall carved out an opportunity for winger Craig Gilroy to scramble over the line. Humphreys' conversion made it 16-22.
Another long-range strike from Humphreys gave Ulster a nine-point cushion and that looked like being enough, but a tense finish was ensured when Jerry Cronin was dispatched to the sin-bin and Olivier kicked the home side back in to contention.
But time ran out on Aironi and Ulster left with the spoils.
Pen: Olivier 4
Try: Tuohy, Whitten, Gilroy
Pen: Humphreys 2
Yellow card: Cronin (Ulster)
Aironi: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Riccardo Pavan, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Nicola Cattina, 6 Josh Sole, 5 George Biagi, 4 Joshua Furno, 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Roberto Santamaria (cap), 1 Matias Aguero
Replacements:16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Simone Favaro, 20 Frans Viljoen, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Alberto Benettin, 23 Gilberto Pavan.
Ulster: 15 Adam D'Arcy, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Nevin Spence, 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Chris Henry, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Tim Barker, 3 Jerry Cronin, 2 Andi Kyriacou, Paddy McAllister
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Luke Marshall
Referee: Neil Hennessy (WRU)
Assistant Referees: Alan Falzone, Giuseppe Vivarini (both FIR)