Atalanta managed 32 shots on goal but could not find a way past Empoli keeper Bartlomiej Dragowski as they were held 0-0 at home and dropped two precious points in the race for a Champions League place on Monday.
The Polish goalkeeper had an outstanding match as he kept the hosts at bay with at least half a dozen top-quality saves.
After that, Atalanta laid siege to the Empoli goal but a combination of poor finishing, free kicks into the wall, heroic defending by the visitors and Dragowski prevented them from scoring.
The draw left Atalanta sixth in Serie A with 53 points, two behind fourth-placed AC Milan and one behind Roma. The top four qualify for the Champions League next season.
Empoli, 18th in the 20-team table, stayed in the relegation zone but are only two points behind Bologna, the team immediately above them.