Scotland comfortably secured their first victory of the 2009 Six Nations and avoided a third successive defeat by Italy in the tournament.
A scintillating try from Simon Danielli was the highlight of the first half as the Scots went into the break 16-3 up.
Scott Gray dived over in the second half and Chris Paterson finished with 11 points and Phil Godman kicked five.
Italy, whose points came via a Sergio Parisse drop-goal and a Luke McLean penalty, did not really threaten.
It was a match labelled as a career-defining one for Frank Hadden, with none other than former great Gavin Hastings declaring that the Scotland coach could not survive another defeat.
Hadden happy with untidy win
To Hadden's relief, nothing other than a Scotland win seemed likely and it is perhaps Italy coach Nick Mallet, with his laboured side rooted at the bottom of the table, who is now feeling the heat.
While the manner of the win may not have been pretty, there was plenty for Scotland to be encouraged about.
The scrum, boosted by the return of Euan Murray, looked more solid than it had been in the previous two games and that was no mean feat as the Italian pack had previously posed problems for both England and Ireland.
And, just as they had against France in Paris, the effervescent Evans brothers, Thom and Max, sparkled on the few occasions when they had the space to do so.
The Scots raced into a 6-0 lead after 10 minutes courtesy of Paterson, who had come on as a blood-bin replacement for Godman to kick two penalties with his usual aplomb.
The error-prone Italians kept losing the ball in opposition territory, but, in the 21st minute, gasps could be heard around Murrayfield as Alessandro Zanni intercepted a Hugo Southwell pass and raced towards the tryline.
He was brought down a few metres short, but the ball was quickly recycled and Parisse dropped back to kick a drop-goal which wobbled over.
Godman missed an attempt at goal in the 23rd minute but atoned for his error six minutes later when Mauro Bergamasco was penalised for a deliberate handball.
Replacement flanker Scott Gray celebrates at the final whistle
Scotland were gathering momentum and, five minutes before the break, capitalised on their territorial advantage when they won a quick line-out, and a neat inside pass from Graeme Morrison set Danielli free to pierce the Italian defence for his first try in Scottish colours since 2004.
Godman converted, and a missed long-range penalty from Andrea Marcato in the final minute allowed the Scots to go into the break with a commanding, if scrappy, 16-3 lead.
McLean clawed three points back for Italy with a simple penalty in the 55th minute of what was a disjointed game, but on the hour Gray dived over to all but seal a Scotland win.
The impressive Danielli cut inside and fed Thom Evans, who slalomed through the Italian defence at pace and offloaded to the replacement flanker Gray.
Paterson converted and added a penalty to make it 26-6 with 12 minutes remaining.
Scotland could even afford to waste try-scoring opportunities, with Danielli and replacement Chris Cusiter being denied by brave Italian defending.
With four minutes remaining, Mauro Bergamasco was cruelly denied a try by the bounce of the ball after a flick from Italian talisman Parisse had put him into space.
The flanker chipped ahead but could not gather for what would have been a deserved try for the visitors.
Scotland: Southwell, Danielli, M Evans, Morrison, T Evans, Godman, Barclay, Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, Murray, White, Kellock, Strokosch, Taylor.
Replacements: Paterson for Southwell (47), De Luca for Morrison (67), Gray for Barclay (56), Cusiter for Blair (55), Brown for Jacobsen (68), Hall for Ford (53), Dickinson for Murray (67).
Italy: Marcato, M. Bergamasco, Canale, Garcia, Pratichetti, McLean, Griffen, Perugini, Ghiraldini, Castrogiovanni, Dellape, Bortolami, Zanni, M. Bergamasco, Parisse.
Replacements: Rubini for Marcato (47), Bacchetti for Garcia (3), Canavosio for Griffen (55), Sbaraglini for Ghiraldini (58), Nieto for Castrogiovanni (58), Del Fava for Dellape (57), Sole for Bortolami (77).
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.