But Mallett has not pressed panic button and shown faith with the majority of the side that lost 26-6 to Scotland in Edinburgh last time out.
to Leicester prop Martin Castrogiavanni is dropped to the bench, Gloucester's Carlos Nieto starting at tight-head.
Overmach Parma full-back Giulio Rubini, 21, is given a first start on the wing, Mirco Bergamasco moving back to centre with Gonzalo Garcia missing out. Uncapped Roberto Quartaroli is also brought onto the bench.
Rubini won his first cap as a replacement in last month's 26-6 defeat to Scotland, the Murrayfield loss having followed earlier reversals to England and Ireland.
Azzurri full-back Andrea Masi was last week ruled out of the Wales game because of injury. Masi, who missed the match against Scotland through suspension, has been struggling with a back injury.
Italy: Andrea Marcato; Giulio Rubini, Gonzalo Canale, Mirco Bergamasco, Matteo Pratichetti; Luke McLean, Paul Griffen; Salvatore Perugini, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Carlos Nieto, Santiago Dellape, Marco Bortolami, Alessandro Zanni, Mauro Bergamasco, Sergio Parisse (capt).
Replacements: Franco Sbaraglini, Martin Castrogiovanni, Carlo Antonio Del Fava, Josh Sole, Pablo Canavosio, Luciano Orquera, Roberto Quartaroli.
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)