Civil Protection chief Franco Gabrielli said the undertaking is "the first of its kind," the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The massive cruise ship has lain on its side since the January 2012 accident off the coast of Giglio island in which 32 people died.
The ship probably will not hauled away until spring, at the earliest, Gabrielli said.
Some $796.5 million has already been spent to clear the ship from its resting place, Costa Crociere, the British-American operator of the ship, said.
Those expenses do not include removing the ship, said Franco Porcellacchia, a spokesman for the company.
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