Paolo Garbisi kicked 12 points as Italy Under-20s recovered from a slow start to see off Wales Under-20s 17-7 in Colwyn Bay in their Under-20s Six Nations opener.
Sam Costelow’s early score had given Wales the perfect start, but from there Italy were able to seize control of proceedings, dominating both possession and territory.
While they struggled to convert it into tries, with just a close-range effort from Matteo Drudi, Garbisi kept the scoreboard ticking over the clinch the victory.
Wales had started strongly, taking advantage of some early field position to go over. Fly-half Costelow sliced through from Aneurin Owen’s inside pass and raced under the posts before converting his own effort on five minutes.
However from that point onwards, it was Italy who looked the more threatening, often breaking through gaps from their own half before long periods of possession deep in Welsh territory.
The first of those ended with Drudi forcing his way over with a pick and go, although Garbisi could not add the extras from wide on the right.
He made up for it on 20 minutes, knocking over three points as Dom Booth strayed offside on the Wales line.
Italy continued to dominate but could not add to their score before half-time, having to settle for an 8-7 lead at the break.
They were more clinical early in the second half, with Garbisi adding two quick penalties to make it 14-7 and giving them some breathing room.
The Azzurrini could have been further ahead, but Manuel Zuliani knocked on over the line when trying to dive over a ruck to dot down.
A fourth Garbisi penalty made it a two-score advantage on 55 minutes, with Wales really struggling to get a foothold in the game.
Their cause was helped by Garbisi missing a shot at goal with quarter of an hour remaining, and his replacement Mattia Ferrarin doing the same shortly after.
But Italy were not made to pay for those misses, stepping up in defence late on to secure a victory on the road to open their campaign, as they did in Scotland a year ago.