Exactly 11 months on from Italy beating England on penalties at Wembley, Gareth Southgate's men failed to kick-start their UEFA Nations League campaign against a side which has not qualified for Qatar 2022 and was battered by Argentina in the Finalissima.
England had chances but was arguably second-best in the first half, as it was cheered on by a massively reduced crowd made up mostly by children as a consequence of the crowd trouble at last July's final.
The hosts had the better of the second period but nonetheless slumped to three successive games without a win for only the second time under Southgate.
A gripping start saw Davide Frattesi and Tammy Abraham miss presentable close-range chances, before Gianluigi Donnarumma tipped a Mason Mount effort on to the crossbar all inside the first 10 minutes.
The flurry was followed by something of a lull, but Italy threatened again just before the half-hour mark as Aaron Ramsdale produced a fine stop to thwart Sandro Tonali from point-blank range.
Italy finished the half dangerously, too. Gianluca Scamacca smashed over from eight yards and Matteo Pessina saw his drive turned over.
England should have made it 1-0 early in the second half, but Raheem Sterling failed to convert from Reece James's delivery across goal.
Giovanni Di Lorenzo then made a mess of Lorenzo Pellegrini's lofted pass into the box, neither squaring to the unmarked Scamacca nor getting a shot away, and the game ultimately petered out to a goalless draw.