The Irish have been journeying to Rome since the dawn of civilisation. Or since about 10-48.
ut it's doubtful whether they've ever been handed the number of gifts as welcome visitors that Italy's rugby men served up in the Rome sunshine this afternoon.
Italy cannot afford to concede soft penalties throughout any match. And as if leaking points from conceded penalties wasn't enough, Ireland's Italian hosts then conceded two yellow cards in the second half just to make sure Ireland cruised home to an overwhelming win.
Andy Farrell's Ireland may not be so powerful a world side as to keep the Springboks and All Blacks awake at night. But against second tier opposition of this kind, they take control and punish mistakes.
Italy's discipline at the breakdown, especially in the second half, was abysmal. By late in the second half, Italy had conceded ten penalties to two. Add on the seven they gave away before half time, and you were left scratching your head about any lessons or conclusions to be drawn from this hopelessly one-sided affair.
It didn't matter a jot to Ireland that they had two more second half tries disallowed, one for a knock-on, the other for a forward pass. But no-one cared, not even about the inaccurate finishing.
Such a lopsided contest left a strangely unsatisfying taste in the mouth. So what did we learn?
Sure, Ireland had far more collective dynamism and cohesion than they showed against Wales and France. Their starting front row went very well and their defence around the ruck was terrific. Italy had some ball but never really threatened to break through a solidly structured Irish defence close in.
A big win should always build confidence in a team. But I suspect even the coaches, in private at least, will be reluctant to draw too many conclusions. We'll know a whole lot more and be able to put this result in perspective when Ireland go to Scotland and then entertain England in Dublin, all in the last six days of this Six Nations.
Ireland led 27-10 at half time and needed to kick on in the last 40 minutes. But they lost some flow and cohesion because of the number of substitutes which made a complete mess of the game.
But the factor that surprised me most was that Jonny Sexton was not only chosen to play, but that he lasted the entire 80 minutes. Credit to Sexton. He kicked eight out of eight and gave Ireland a structure which put them in the ascendency. But didn't we already know he could do that?
Did the British and Irish Lion need to do it against lowly Italy to prove himself? For me, Ireland missed a major chance to have a real look at Billy Burns in Test match rugby from the start. Even Sexton doesn't seem sure whether or not he'll still be around for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. I can't see it's likely but whether he is or isn't, surely this was a golden chance to give Burns a decent opportunity.
Instead, Ireland brought him on with just ten minutes left (and even shifted Sexton to centre). It was far too late for Burns and told us nothing that we didn't know about Sexton beforehand.
I suspect Sexton played because Ireland simply couldn't contemplate the possibility of a third defeat this season. Having him around was the insurance policy that was always going to pay off.
Everywhere you looked, Ireland were better than earlier in the tournament. Yet every tick in the box came with a caveat. This was ONLY Italy.
Still, you can only beat what is in front of you. And some players, chiefly Tadhg Beirne, took the chance to mark the card of Lions coach Warren Gatland very emphatically. One burst down the touchline in open play was achieved with astonishing speed by the versatile Beirne. And that versatility which makes him effective at lock or in the back row could be crucial in Gatland's thinking.