UEFA have confirmed that it has received official interest to stage the 2016 UEFA European Championship finals from four candidates, including a bid from Italy.
European football's governing body will also assess solo bids from France and Turkey and a joint proposal from Norway and Sweden to host Euro 2016, which will see the number of teams increased from 16 to 24.
The four bids were submitted to UEFA before the official deadline of midnight on Monday and a final decision will be taken in May next year.
"France, Italy, and Turkey have informed UEFA they wish to submit a single bid, while a joint bid will be presented by Norway/Sweden," read an official UEFA statement.
"UEFA will now review the eligibility of the interested candidates, based on the various technical requirements relating to the potential infrastructure needed as well as any previous experience of the relevant member associations, cities and venues in organising multi-venue sports events, before confirming the official list of bidders."
The candidates in the running will next month receive official bid documents to help them prepare their bid dossiers, which have to be submitted to UEFA by 15 February, 2010. This will be followed by an evaluation phase from March 2010, during which UEFA officials will conduct a series of visits to the bidding countries to evaluate their plans.
The bid dossiers will then be examined and UEFA officials will prepare evaluation reports on each of the bids before the Executive Committee take a final decision as to who hosts the finals on May 28, 2010.
Italy, who staged and won the tournament in 1968 and hosted it again in 1980, did make a bid for Euro 2012 but were beaten by Poland and Ukraine in the final vote in April 2007, with domestic fan violence and the Calciopoli scandal at the time reported to be partly to blame.
Last week the President of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) Giancarlo Abete said that his country is always interested in hosting major international events and that they could not pull out of this great opportunity.
France, who held the first ever European championship in 1960 and won it on home soil in 1984, will hope the presence of Michel Platini as UEFA President will work in their favour.
Norway and Sweden joined forces after recognising that neither would be able to launch a solo bid with 24 teams taking part. Sweden hosted the-then eight-team tournament in 1992 when just four stadiums were needed while Norway have never hosted a championship.
Turkey would also be hosting a European championship for the first time. Last year the Turkish government offered to host Euro 2012 if Poland and Ukraine were unable to meet their deadlines to complete preparations.
Each of the four candidates intend to use the tournament as a catalyst for major investment in building and upgrading stadiums. Stadium standards in both Italy and France have fallen far behind other major footballing nations such as England, Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Portugal since each of them last hosted the FIFA World Cup, in 1990 and 1998 respectively.
With the 2016 championships increasing in size and with the current global economic crisis, Scotland and Wales ended their interest in a joint bid earlier this month.
UEFA said they require a minimum of nine stadiums each holding at least 30,000 spectators. At least a 50,000-capacity stadium is needed for the final.
Bidding process for UEFA Euro 2016:
> Any of UEFA's 53 member associations interested in bidding had to signal their intention to UEFA by Monday 9 March.
> UEFA will review the eligibility of each of the candidates before confirming the list of official bidders next month. The bids still in the running will then receive the tournament requirement documents.
> Each of the candidates must complete a bid dossier and present it to UEFA by Monday 15 February, 2010.
> Official site visits to the various bidders will be made during March 2010. The UEFA administration and experts will then examine the official bid dossiers and prepare a written report on each bid.
> The reports will be passed to UEFA's National Team Competitions Committee, with a final decision expected by the UEFA Executive Committee on Friday 28 May, 2010.