Naples has been formally declared as a candidate in the reopened bidding process for the 2019 Summer Universiade by the International University Sports Federation (FISU).
The process was re-opened last year following the withdrawal of Brasilia after the Brazilian capital withdrew due to not being able to meet financial commitments.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Vincenzo de Luca, President of the Campania Region, which includes Naples, and FISU secretary general Eric Saintrond in October.
Both Saintrond and newly elected FISU President Oleg Matytsin have tvisited the Italian city this week, where interest was formally confirmed.
"The Universiade in Naples could be a springboard for many social, sporting and cultural projects for the region to plan for the next five years," said a FISU statement.
"It would give an opportunity to one of the most important Italian student communities to participate in the development of such a large project."
The southern city is best known in a sporting sense for Napoli football club, but, if it was successful, it would add to a rich heritage of Italian hosts for Universiade events.
Four Summer editions have been held there: in Turin in 1959 and 1970, in Rome in 1975 and in Sizilien in 1997, as well as six Winter Games.
Brasilia had initially been chosen as host the 2019 event in 2013 after rivals Baku and Budapest dropped out of the race in the build-up to final decision, which was made in Brussels.
No other replacement candidates have yet put themselves forward.
It is expected that the host will be confirmed later this year.