Now, ahead of Saturday's Stadio Flaminio clash with Ireland, Dondi and his team-mates can only hope the feelgood factor engendered by the Wales win will turn things around.
"The only negative thing (about the Wales match) was the crowd," said Dondi. "I hope the victory will recreate the enthusiasm of the fans and that next Saturday against Ireland we will have a full house."
His remarks were echoed by talismanic fly-half Diego Dominguez, whose 15 points against Wales took his international tally to 980, a mark bettered only by Neil Jenkins of Wales.
"If the public do not respond, a city needs to be found which can welcome the national side as it deserves," said Dominguez.
While the attractions of a weekend in the Eternal City may be obvious to the Welsh, the Irish, the Scots, the English and the French, it appears relatively few Italians make the trip to the capital for the Six Nations.
In contrast, November test matches in the northern port of Genoa against the likes of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have attracted 30,000-plus crowds with a negligible number of visiting supporters.
Traditionally, Six Nations matches are played in the capital city of the host nation and any formal request by Italy to switch base would be likely to meet with some resistance by tournament chiefs.