Italy coach Jacques Brunel pointed his players back to the drawing board after a 19-14 defeat to Argentina left them with just one win in November.
Italy were one of the form teams of last season's Six Nations after securing wins over France and Ireland and coming within seven points of what would have been a momentous win over England.
But after three defeats in South Africa on their summer tour allowed doubts to creep in, losses to Australia (50-20) and Argentina and an unconvincing 37-31 win over Fiji have provided Italy with more questions than answers ahead of next year's European showpiece tournament.
"It's quite a negative series for us, if you consider these two defeats and the fact we had some strong performances in the Six Nations," said Brunel.
"We had a good tournament last season, and in the summer tour we took our foot off the gas. This (series) has been a little bit strange for us.
"We'll look a little later at everything we've done individually and collectively throughout this series to see what elements we need to change."
While Brunel was kind in his assessment of missed opportunities, captain Sergio Parisse was more clinical in his appraisal.
"We set out to win this game today and gave everything to win it, but ended up losing," said the number eight, who, along with prop Martin Castrogiovanni, made his 101st appearance.
"In a game like this, every point that you don't score you end up paying for."