Wales coach Warren Gatland said he was content to start their Six Nations defence with a despite failing to dominate Italy in Cardiff.
Tries from Alex Cuthbert and Scott Williams gave Wales a handy 17-3 lead at half-time at the Millennium Stadium.
But Italy responded in the second period as Michele Campagnaro crossed for a brace of tries.
"It was tough. You've got to give Italy a lot of credit - they made it tough for us," Gatland said.
"We're pretty satisfied. There were some positives in our game and things to work on in terms of finishing and being clinical.
"It's a reasonable start for us and, the way Italy performed, I wouldn't be surprised if they won a few games in this competition. They won a couple last year and I think they'll do so again."
While Wales failed to shake off the Azzurri, Gatland said he was pleased his side were pushed hard before their trip to face Ireland in Dublin next weekend.
"It wasn't an easy run-out. It was tough, and that's the way we wanted it," he added.
"We know there's a few things for us to fix up on, in terms of making sure we're a little bit more accurate and clinical in time for next week.
"We know it's a massive challenge for us. As defending champions for the last two years, every team will be targeting us and will be up for it.
"We wanted to get this game under our belt and focus on next week. It's going to be tough for Ireland next week. They've only got a six-day turnaround, so we've spoken about making sure we recover right.
"It's going to be a huge game for both teams, particularly if Ireland do manage to beat Scotland."