German Denis struck a hat-trick as Atalanta cruised past nine-man Roma with a thumping win in Bergamo.
In the day's other games, Siena hammered Palermo, Lazio got back to winning ways and Catania extended their unbeaten run at home to five games.
Napoli overcame Inter Milan, Udinese won at Bologna, Cesena coach Mario Beretta got off to the worst possible start while Lecce picked up three vital points.
Atalanta took nine-man Roma apart with a 4-1 win at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.
Guido Marilungo put the hosts ahead early on and Denis made it 2-0 after 19 minutes.
Fabio Borini reduced the deficit before half-time, but Denis struck his second shortly after the restart.
Roma's hopes of a comeback suffered a blow when the team's leading scorer Daniel Osvaldo was sent off with 36 minutes to go.
Denis completed his hat-trick in the 66th minute and Roma's misery was complete when they were reduced to nine men, substitute Marco Cassetti seeing red for dissent eight minutes from time.
Udinese kept up their Serie A title push with a 3-1 victory at Bologna.
Antonio Di Natale put the visitors in front from the penalty spot in the 38th minute and Dusan Basta doubled their advantage early in the second half.
Panagiotis Kone gave the hosts hope by halving the deficit in the 81st minute only for Antonio Floro Flores to put the match to bed and keep Udinese in third place.
Lazio ended a difficult week on a high with a narrow win over Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico.
Miroslav Klose scored the only goal of the game in the 36th minute as Lazio got back to winning ways after defeats to Atletico Madrid and Palermo over the last seven days.
The result was just what the Biancoceleste fans needed after a turbulent week at the club, which saw coach Edy Reja offering to step down before changing his mind.
Napoli heaped more pressure on Inter Milan boss Claudio Ranieri with a 1-0 win at the San Paolo.
Ezequiel Lavezzi's second-half strike, an angled drive in the 59th minute, lifted Napoli to fifth but condemned the Nerazzurri to a seventh defeat in eight.
Inter, who remain in seventh on 36 points - nine off the UEFA Champions League qualifying places - even enjoyed a one-man advantage for the final 12 minutes after Salvatore Aronica's sending off.
But their dismal record of not having won a Serie A match in Naples since 1997 continued.
Siena took full advantage of playing for almost 90 minutes with an extra man by beating Palermo 4-1 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Federico Balzaretti was sent off after only a minute of the game and, although Igor Budan gave the Rosaneri the lead in the 12th minute, Siena soon turned things around to comfortably win a one-sided game.
Claudio Terzi brought them level from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute before goals from Erjon Bogdani, Luca Rossettini and Franco Brienza sealed all three points for the Tuscans, who maintain their two-point cushion over the relegation zone.
Catania extended their unbeaten run at home to five games with a 3-1 triumph over relegation-threatened Novara.
Gonzalo Bergessio put the hosts ahead on the half-hour mark before Giovanni Marchese doubled Catania's lead early in the second half.
Alejandro Gomez made it 3-0 in the 55th minute before substitute Raffaele Rubino scored a consolation goal for Novara six minutes from time.
The win at the Angelo Massimino stadium was Catania's second consecutive and lifted the Sicilian outfit to 10th place.
The result, meanwhile, ended Novara's three-match unbeaten run and left them nine points from safety in 19th place.
Davide Moscardelli made it a miserable start to life as Cesena coach for Mario Beretta as his goal earned Chievo a 1-0 win at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi.
In a tense game characterised more for the number of yellow cards - seven - and a red card for Cesena's Maurizio Lauro, Moscardelli struck late on to earn all three points.
As a result, Cesena are now staring up at the rest of Serie A with an eight-point gap between them and safety.
Lecce picked up three vital points in their quest for safety with a 2-1 win at Cagliari.
Luis Muriel put the Apulians ahead just before the break, but Joaquin Larrivey levelled for the home side from the penalty spot in the 50th minute.
Thiago Ribeiro hit the post for the home side before Andrea Bertolacci gave Lecce all three points in the 61st minute. To make matters worse for Cagliari, they ended the game with 10 men after Michele Canini saw red late on.