A 24-team international tournament, featuring 20 of the world's top 30 men's sides, the 2010 Volleyball World Championship organized by the FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) is to take place across Italy from September 25 to October 10. The Italians have won the trophy three times in the 1990s, but it's Brazil who have wrestled dominance away from Europe more recently, taking the crown in 2002 and 2006.
Stadium venues are all across the land, and though most are concentrated in the more populous regions of northern and central Italy, even Sicily and Reggio get in on the act.
There are three rounds of pooled group matches, shedding each pool's last place team each time. By the time of the third round, only 12 teams remain: the four pool winners are put forward for semi-final places, while runners up scramble for tournament rankings 5 to 12.
First-round games take place throughout Italy between September 25 and 27: Turin, Milan, Verona, Trieste and Modena in the north, and in Reggio Calabria at the country's southwestern tip.
The second-round matches are also distributed throughout the country, with Sicilian Catania, northernmost Milan and east coast Ancona joining Milan in hosting between September 30 and October 2, while the six crucial third-round games, October 4-6, see activity focussed in Modena, Florence and Rome.
Those three central cities are likewise venues for the final round of matches. Modena takes charge of the 5th-8th place deciders, and Florence the matches for 9th- 12th, all on October 9. Rome benefits from the grand final and third place play-off, October 10.
Tickets are priced similarly throughout the tournament, with seats between €10 and €40 for a first round game and from €14 to €50 for the finals. Other ticket bundles allow pass holders to see all the matches in a round or to follow the Italian team as far as they go.
In keeping with volleyball's emphasis on height, children are granted free admission - as long as they are under 1 meter tall (3 feet 2 inches). For more information, visit volley2010.com.