However, they made heavier weather of their task than they had to. A sloppy middle period almost cost them the result and, as Zebre rallied towards the end and bit into the home side's lead, they and their supporters must have greeted the final whistle with more relief than jubilation.
Still, those details will be forgotten at the season's end, and Edinburgh can this morning look with satisfaction on a RaboDirect PRO12 table in which they have hoisted themselves out of the basement zone into a position of mid-table respectability. With his Scotland stars missing, Alan Solomons was always going to be content with an ugly, scrappy win, and that, in a nutshell, was exactly what the head coach got. It would be understating things to say there was a hint of winter in the Murrayfield air, but a clear, still evening still made for ideal conditions. The pitch, too, was in fine nick ahead of its international duties this month, although the enthusiasm of the stadium groundstaff for making running repairs to the surface at the first sign of a divot sometimes made the spectating experience more akin to watching a garden makeover programme than a rugby match.
Edinburgh, though, provided the real ground force in the opening half-hour. They somehow managed to slip behind when Luciano Orquera clipped over a penalty after 17 minutes, but appeared to have most of the momentum and duly made the advantage tell on the scoreboard when Dougie Fife, running a beautiful line behind Harry Leonard, slipped the pass that put Greig Tonks over for their first try in the 21st minute.
Zebre might have been forgiven for conceding that score, but their first-up tackling, or rather the lack of it, was a major factor and they coughed up a second seven minutes later. As Edinburgh churned through the phases towards the line, the Italian defenders' level of resistance was in the meet-and-greet category, and Willem Nel hammered over from the final ruck to claim the score. At that point, Edinburgh fans might have started thinking about a bonus point, something their club have not managed to achieve this season. But their hubris would haunt them by the time they reached half-time, for by that point Edinburgh had surrendered two tries that were, if anything, even softer than the pair they had claimed at the other end of the pitch.
The first was scored in the 31st minute by centre Tommaso Iannone, although more credit should probably go to Leonardo Sarto for the crashing run that, with a little help from Edinburgh centre Ben Atiga's lurid failure to stop it, set up the scoring position on the line.
Then, just before half-time, the entire Edinburgh defence became too narrow as Zebre pounded away on the right-hand side, leaving the Scots looking a little thin on the ground when their opponents switched play to the left with a series of quick passes. The ball came to Sarto, and although Fife made a heroic attempt to stop the winger, referee Leighton Hodges ruled Sarto had touched the ball down before crashing into the corner flag.
Orquera's second conversion took Zebre into a 17-12 interval lead. It was an absurd reflection of the game up to that point, but it was a salutary experience for Edinburgh, who had been horribly at fault in allowing their control of the match to slip.
For Solomons, the most maddening aspect must surely have been his side's failure to press home clear advantages. When they kept things tight, Edinburgh outmuscled Zebre by a comfortable margin. A couple of early driving mauls had made that clear, and it was a wonder Edinburgh did not make more of their superiority in the grunt department.
Leonard cut the gap with a penalty three minutes after the restart but Edinburgh had to wait until the 55th minute before they got their noses in front again, and they did it by exploiting the forward power that had been woefully underused up to that point. A lineout gave way to a driving maul that, a couple of phases later, allowed the hugely impressive Cornell du Preez to pound over in the right-hand corner.
A conversion and penalty by Leonard gave Edinburgh a margin of comfort but it was eroded in the final quarter as Orquera sent over another two penalties. The Italian fly-half tried to finish the job with a couple of dropped goal attempts in the last few minutes, but the first drifted wide and the second was blocked by Sean Kennedy.