Italy required a late penalty from Daniele De Rossi to force a 1-1 draw with Spain in World Cup qualifying in Turin on Thursday.
Giampiero Ventura's Azzurri were staring down the barrel of their first WC qualifying defeat in eight years after Vitolo had given Spain the lead 10 minute into the second half.
The Sevilla winger was handed a gift when Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon came out to clear Sergio Busquets' through ball, only to completely mistime his kick, allowing Vitolo to finish into an empty net.
With eight minutes remaining in regular time, Italy were handed a reprieve when Sergio Ramos felled Eder in the box, allowing Roma hero De Rossi to step up and send Manchester United keeper David De Gea the wrong way.
Ciro Immobile thought he had won it for the Azzurri in the dying stages but his goal was rightly disallowed for offside as the European heavyweights had to settle for a share of the spoils.
The result has both sides on four points from two Group G matches, as they sit behind Albania ho have set the early pace.
Italy next take on Macedonia in Skopje on Sunday as Julen Lopetegui's La Furia Roja head to Shkoder to meet group leaders Albania.