Ireland coach, Mick Bradley had made four changes - two enforced - from the side that beat Scotland a week previously, and one of those changes, Michael Rainey, paid rich dividends. The Glasgow Hawks fly-half, kicked two penalties and two conversions and generally managed to move his backline with a fair degree of potency.
Skipper Stephen Keogh got his side's first try following a drive from a 20 metre line-out and the second came just before the break from Niall Ronan after good approach work by Fiach O'Loughlin and replacement, John Hearty.
Ireland led 18-9 at the interval but the Italians struck back with a converted try, to reduce the deficit to just two points (18-16).
The Irish responded positively and two tries in five minutes sealed the issue.
Ireland:Tommy Bowe (Queens University); Richard Lane (UCC), Barry Murphy (UL Bohemians), Keith Matthews (UL Bohemians), David Warwick (Newport); Michael Rainey (Glasgow Hawks), Fiach O'Loughlin (Shannon); Eugene McGovern (Old Crescent), Rory Best (Belfast Harlequins), Jason Moran (UCD); David Gannon (UCD), Neil McComb (Dundee Highschool); John Muldoon (Galwegians), Niall Ronan (Lansdowne), Stephen Keogh capt (UCD).Replacements: J Hearty (Blackrock) for Warwick 22 mins; D Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins) for Moran 57 mins: D McAllister (Terenure) for Rainey 65 mins.
Italy: 15 Santillo (Sannio), 14 Nitoglia L. (Lazio & Primavera), 13 Chillon (APS Petrarca PD), 12 Ghidini (Am. & Calvisano), 11 Norman Di Maura (Overmach), 10 Marcato (APS Petrarca PD), 9 Picone (Benetton Treviso) (captain), 8 Sergio Parisse (Benetton Treviso), 7 Persico (Arix Viadana), 6 Andrea Bresolin (Mogliano), 5 Antonio Pavanello (Rovigo), 4 Marco Montani (Benetton Treviso), 3 Salvatore Costanzo (Benetton Treviso), 2 Arganese (Castres), 1 Sbaraglini (Benetton Treviso).Replacements: 16 Ferraro (APS Petrarca PD), 17 Staibano (Overmach Parma), 18 Bernabr (Lazio & Primavera), 19 M Nitoglia (Lazio & Primavera), 20 Porrazzo (Sannio), 21 Doglioli (APS Petrarca PD), 22 Tempestini (Prato).
Referee: A Ireland (Scotland).