Wales were given a fright before beating Italy 38-18 at Llanelli on Saturday to finish fifth in the Autumn Nations Cup.
The hosts looked set for a comfortable victory after surging into an early 14-0 lead on the back of maiden Test tries by Kieran Hardy and Sam Parry, with fly-half Callum Sheedy converting both scores.
But Italy, without against Six Nations opposition in five years, hit back to lead 18-17 after tries either side of half-time by Marco Zanon and Johan Meyer.
Wales replacement scrum-half Gareth Davies settled home nerves, however, with a converted try that put his side 24-18 up heading into the final quarter.
George North then powered over for his 41st Wales try, and 10th against Italy, to put the result beyond doubt 11 minutes from time, with impressive flanker Justin Tipuric's late score tough on the Azzurri.
The victory in their last match of 2020 was just Wales' third win in 10 Tests under coach Wayne Pivac and second over Italy, following a 42-0 Six Nations rout in February.
"For us it was really important to win the game and get some more questions answered about some of the young players," Pivac told Amazon Prime.
"As frustrating as this eight-week campaign has been at times we have learnt a lot, now we need a squad that can do really well in the Six Nations."
Wales No 8 Taulupe Faletau was named man-of-the-match and Tipuric, who combined brilliantly with his fellow back-rower, said: "He did all the hard work and made me look good! It was down to the front five getting us front-foot ball."
Wales were forced into a late change when centre Johnny Williams withdrew before kick-off with a calf injury, his place taken by Scarlets team-mate Jonathan Davies.
Pivac, who has repeatedly stressed the importance of this tournament in developing squad depth ahead of the 2023 World Cup in France, had already made nine changes following last week's 24-13 home loss to England.
Meanwhile, Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones extended his own Test appearance world record to 152 caps.
It took Wales just seven minutes to break the deadlock, with Faletau sending the fit-again Tipuric through a hole in the defence before the openside flanker released Hardy, who just did enough to ground the ball over the try-line.
- Italy worn down -
Wales doubled their lead in the 18th minute when hooker Parry burrowed over from close range before home full-back Liam Williams limped off.
But a superb move, against the run of play, got Italy back into the game six minutes before half-time.
From a driving line-out, Carlo Canna's fine grubber kick pierced the defence and, with no Wales sweeper in behind, fellow centre Zanon sprinted in to touch down.
Two minutes before half-time, Welsh-born Stephen Varney's break from near his own line eventually saw the Italy scrum-half hauled down in the Wales 22 by Josh Adams.
But the Wales winger was yellow carded for not releasing the ball and Garbisi kicked the ensuing penalty to draw Italy to within a point at the break.
Sheedy landed another penalty before Italy capitalised on their man advantage to score a try, flanker Meyer evading Louis Rees-Zammit and barging over Ioan Lloyd on his way to the line.
Garbisi missed the difficult conversion but Italy were 18-17 ahead.
Italy's lead, though, lasted for just nine minutes.
They were undone by more brilliant interplay from Tipuric and Faletau, the pair creating an inside break for Davies, who raced through a gap in a dog-leg defence, with Sheedy adding the extras.
Then, following a turnover on halfway, the ball was worked out to the right where North forced his way through a pile of bodies for a try confirmed by the television match official.
And there was still time for Faletau, cleverly delaying his pass, to send in Tipuric for a try.