The livewire full-back Ange Capuozzo scored a brace of tries as Italy claimed their first ever victory over Australia with a 28-27 triumph in Florence.
The replacement fly-half Ben Donaldson had the chance to convert a late Australian score for the win but put his effort wide of the posts to prompt jubilant celebrations from the Italian players.
The winger Pierre Bruno also scored a try for home side, who were full value for their victory and might have won by a greater margin had they not missed out on 14 points with kickable penalties and conversions.
Australia scored tries through Tom Wright, Fraser McReight, Tom Robertson and Cadeyrn Neville but gave away too many penalties through indiscipline and were poor on their own set piece in attacking positions.
“It means a lot for the boys, they grafted hard all game and we dug deep,” said the Italy scrum-half Stephen Varney. “We are building well, we have very good coaches. We are proud to be part of this team and have great leaders.”
“Capuozzo is an amazing payer, he has turned up all year and put in strong performances. I’m really happy for him.”
The loss compounded a miserable year for Australia in which they have lost eight tests, piling the pressure on Dave Rennie ahead of the World Cup in France next year. They face Ireland next Saturday and complete their autumn series against Wales. Italy host South Africa.
The Wallabies came up against a fired-up Italy, who have been much improved since New Zealand-born coach Kieran Crowley took charge and they matched their visitors in the physical battle and applied pressure on their set piece.
The visitors were not accurate enough when they did have chances to score, notably from attacking lineouts having turned down relatively simple shots at goal from penalties.
Discipline has been the Wallabies’ achilles heel this year and it was again the case as they gave away 16 penalties and had a yellow card for the scrum-half Jake Gordon. Italy, who led 17-8 at half-time, scored two of their three tries while he was in the sin-bin.
Despite their poor performance, Australia might still have won it when Neville crossed for a try after the hooter but Donaldson could not direct his pressure conversion on target.