Australia put in a below par performance before claiming an unconvincing 22-19 victory over Italy in Florence on Saturday.
A superb second half fightback almost saw the home side pulling off a draw but a penalty from their fly-half Luciano Orquera, in the 79th minute, sailed just wide of the posts.
Italy came agonisingly close to taking the lead in the 67th minute when Orquera put through a perfectly-timed chip kick which bounced just in front of the Wallabies' try-line.
Captain Sergio Parisse was the player who gave chase but a wicked bounce denied him of what would have been a certain try.
It was a game of two halves for the Wallabies who dominated during the first 40 and held a deserved 22-6 lead at the break.
Their highlight of the game came in the 18th minute when Michael Hooper recovered a loose ball whichl went out to the backs and Kurtley Beale offloaded to Nick Cummins who got in for his second Test try in as many weeks.
Earlier Orquera and Berrick Barnes traded penalties but after Cummins' try, which Barnes converted, Australia added nine further points through a brace of penalties from Beale and another three-pointer from Barnes.
Orquera landed another place-kick on the half hour mark and when the players headed into the sheds, at the interval, Australia were well-set for a huge victory.
The Azzurri had other plans, however, and struck back with a try by Robert Barbieri shortly after the restart.
This came thanks to a dropped pass from Australia which resulted In Italy hoofing the ball downfield before Barbieri dived onto it behind the try-line.
After Australia's early dominance, the roles were completely reversed in the second half with Italy dominating in most facets.
They put the visitors under huge pressure in the set-pieces and were camped inside the Wallabies' 22 for long periods. To their credit the Wallabies' defence held firm and they kept several Italian surges towards their try-line at bay with courageous first-time tackles.
After converting his side's five-pointer, Orquera added two more penalties and although he had a chance to get the well deserved draw for the hosts it wasn't to be and the visitors held on to their narrow lead until the end.
Pens: Orquera 4
Yellow card: Barbieri
Pens: Barnes 3, Beale 2
Yellow card: Ioane
Italy: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Giovambattista Venditti, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Francesco Minto, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Antonio Pavanello, 20 Simone Favaro, 21 Manoa Vosawai, 22 Tobias Botes, 23 Luke McLean.
Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Digby Ioane
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)