Italy won their first ever Championship point away from home in a dogged, scrappy draw at the Millennium Stadium.
RBS SIX NATIONS
Wales (15) 18
Tries: M Jones, S Jones
Con: S Jones
Pens: S Jones (2)
Italy (15) 18
Tries: Galon, Canavosio
Pens: Pez (2)
Wales threatened to run away with it in the opening half, getting their high pace, off-loading game going with tries from Mark Jones and Stephen Jones.
But an Ezio Galon score and a Pablo Canavosio interception try brought it back to 15-15 at half-time.
A Ramiro Pez penalty put the Azzurri ahead, but he missed four other kicks and Stephen Jones booted Wales level.
Wales had started well with a Jones penalty, but suffered a blow when scrum-half Dwayne Peel departed with a badly jarred shoulder following a heavy hit from Galon.
Italy defended well against a maul from a short-range line-out and their blitz defence put pressure on Wales' backs.
But a neat inside ball to Shane Williams allowed the overlapping wing to send Mark Jones clear in the right corner for the opening try.
The visitors hit back when Canavosio was just forced out by Haldane Luscombe after a midfield break from the outstanding Mirco Bergamasco.
Mark Jones gave Wales the ideal start
Wales fluffed the line-out and Italy's forwards almost crossed before the backs sent Galon clear.
The full-back nearly failed to ground the ball before the dead-ball line, but after long deliberation video referee Eric Darriere controversially awarded the score.
Wales began to get their sniping, off-loading game together and when Phillips tapped a short-range penalty the supporting Stephen Jones was on hand for his try.
Italy lost prop Carlos Nieto to a badly twisted knee, before Bergamasco just denied Luscombe a try following a 70m hack-on.
A well-worked attack from the visitors ended in a Pez penalty, though, Martyn Williams lucky not to see yellow for offside play at a ruck.
The home side's pressure mounted for 10 minutes, but on the stroke of half-time a loose Matthew Watkins pass was intercepted by Canavosio for a 60m run-in and 14-point turnaround, Pez's conversion drawing things level.
A Pez penalty gave the Azzurri the lead for the first time when Lee Byrne put in a late hit on Bergamasco, but the fly-half missed the chance to double the lead soon after.
With Italy well on top Cristian Stoica missed a drop goal, before Stephen Jones steadied Wales' nerves with an equalising penalty on 58 minutes following a scrum offence.
The sides battled each other to a standstill in a scrappy, increasingly desperate skirmish, Italy's brave defence leaving the Cardiff crowd silent and unsure how to respond to their misfiring team.
Wales: Byrne, M. Jones, Luscombe, Watkins, S. Williams, S. Jones, Peel, D. Jones, R. Thomas, A. Jones, Gough, Sidoli, Charvis, M. Williams, Owen.
Replacements: Phillips for Peel (8), Jenkins for D. Jones (57), Davies for R. Thomas (71), J. Thomas for Sidoli (75), Popham for Charvis (52). Not Used: Robinson, Henson.
Italy: Galon, Canavosio, Canale, Bergamasco, Nitoglia, Pez, Griffen, Perugini, Festuccia, Nieto, Dellape, Bortolami, Parisse, Zaffiri, Sole.
Replacements: Stoica for Canavosio (47), Ongaro for Festuccia (67), Castrogiovanni for Nieto (24), Del Fava for Dellape (50), Zanni for Parisse (73), Lo Cicero for Zaffiri (80). Not Used: Picone.
Referee: Joel Jutge (France).
Touch judges: Donal Courtney (Ireland), Robert Dickson (Scotland); TV: Eric Darriere (France).