The Azzurri won only their second Six Nations game ever, to end their fourteen-match tournament losing streak.
Italy began brightly, and their confident start was rewarded with the first try of the game after just five minutes.
From a scrum five metres out, the Italians forward gained the necessary yardage for Giampiero De Carli to pile over.
When Dominguez added the extras the home side had signalled an intent that did not bode well for Wales.
Then came a period - the only period - when Wales put some good rugby together. Wales hit back quickly with two counter-attacking tries, both converted by Iestyn Harris, put Wales into a 14-7 lead.
The first score came just two minutes after the opening Italian try.
Steve Williams finished off a tidy Wales move involving the hard-working Harris with a 30-metre run to score, and then a 60-metre dash to the line from Tom Shanklin after fourteen minutes to give Wales their only lead of the match.
It looked as if the more established rugby nation was flexing its historical muscle to put the upstarts in their place.
But the Italians must be given credit for a performance that kept Wales pinned back for long periods, and they got their second try after 20 minutes.
Sustained pressure led to prop Carlo Festuccia driving over. Dominguez converts from wide to level the scores at 14-14.
Have your say on the wru.co.uk messageboard
In the final ten minutes of the first period the sides swapped penalty goals, from Harris and Dominguez, and the Italian No.10 added a dropped goal after 35 minutes to send the home team in to the break leading 20-17.
But it was Wales' second half performance that had most viewers reaching for the Kleenex.
The Italian pack stifled the game, strangling the Welsh forwards to ineptitude, and with the boot of Dominguez firing off dropped goal attempts whenever possible, and punishing Welsh mistakes with accurate tactical kicking, Italy looked an accomplished and dangerous outfit.
Italy secured the win their third try on the hour mark. Alessandro Troncon somewhat fortuitously burst through the Wales defence, and former New Zealand No.8 Matthew Phillips scores under the posts, Dominguez converts to send the home support into ecstasy.
A late try from Llanelli scrum-half Dwayne Peel proved to be a mere consolation for Wales.
But Wales should try to take some positives form this game, Iestyn Harris seemed assured, Gareth Thomas looked dangerous, and Tom Shanklin will have been pleased with his performance.
And were it not for a couple of untimely interventions from the referee in the second period, Wales may well have scored two tries as they tried to run the ball from deep.
In the end though this was a deserved victory for the Italians.
Wales; R Williams, G Thomas, T Shanklin, L Davies (M Watkins 56), M Jones (C Sweeney 76); I Harris, D Peel; I Thomas, M Davies (G Williams 50), B Evans, R Sidoli, Steve Williams (Dafydd Jones 50), M Owen, M Williams, C Charvis (capt, Gavin Thomas 68)
Scorers; Tries - Steve Williams, T Shanklin, D Peel;
Cons - I Harris 2; Pen - I Harris
Italy; P Vaccari; Mauro Bergamasco, C Stoica, G Raineri (Mirco Bergamasco 27), D Dallan; D Dominguez, A Troncon (capt); G de Carli, C Festuccia, R Martinez (S Perugini 58-60), C Bezzi, M Bortolami, A de Rossi, A Persico, M Phillips.
Scorers; Tries - G de Carli, C Festuccia, M Phillips
Cons - D Dominguez 3; Pen - D Dominguez; Dgs - D Dominguez 2
OPENING DAY WOE FOR WALES