The Athletes' Village for the International University Sports Federation (FISU) Summer Universiade has been officially opened just days before competition gets under way in Naples.
The Village lives up to the Universiade's #ToBeUnique slogan with student athletes being accommodated on two luxury cruise ships at Stazione Maritima with views overlooking Mount Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples.
“The 30th Summer Universiade will be unique for many reasons, one of them being this Athletes’ Village,” said FISU President Oleg Matytsin, who was joined by delegates from the Region of Campania and the Italian Student Sport Association (CUSI) for the official opening.
"Never in FISU history have we had the opportunity to accommodate participants on luxury cruise ships, right in the centre of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.”
“Today, I had the chance to take part in a tour of both ships.
"What a fantastic place.
"I have no doubt our athletes will be very excited.
Matytsin said he had already seen Instagram posts from athletes celebrating the Village and jokingly requested to stay a couple of nights on the luxurious boats himself.
CUSI President Lorenzo Lentini was equally impressed with the setting.
He said: "I hope the student athletes who live on these ships for the next two weeks will truly enjoy this unique occasion.
"For us, this ribbon-cutting ceremony is very satisfying and also full of emotion, because it’s part of all the hard work that has been done to make Naples 2019 a reality.”
The FISU and Italian flags were raised during a colourful ceremony, which was bookended by spectacular cultural, athletic-themed performances.
The MSC Lirica will house more than 2,000 athletes and delegates from 71 countries, with another 1,800 sleeping on the Costa Victoria, the cruise ships being made available by Italy-based Costa Cruises.
Both ships have outdoor jogging paths and a spa while both ships will pay great attention to athletes' dietary needs.
Around 700 crew have been specifically trained to support athletes on each cruise ship and specific desks will promote Naples and its tourist attractions.
Company President Neil Palomba said: "For Costa Cruises, it is a great honour to be part of the Naples 2019 Summer Universiade.”
"As an Italian company, we are very happy to contribute to this wonderful event, which is not only a great sporting occasion, but also a fabulous opportunity to promote Naples and the whole of Italy to the world.
"On the Costa Victoria, we'll offer athletes the best of Italian hospitality, which has distinguished Costa for more than 70 years.”
There will be 18 sports contested at the Universiade, due to take place from July 3 to 14.