African migrants played football with Italian children on the beach of the small Sicilian city of Pozzallo on Tuesday, excited to begin a new life in Europe after travelling by a smuggler's boat from North Africa.
But other similar travellers have not been so lucky - at the harbour nearby, the Italian navy was preparing to unload 30 bodies of would-be migrants who did not survive their recent journey.
The Italian navy said that the 30 bodies suffocated or drowned in the cramped cargo hold of an overcrowded boat on Monday.
Over the weekend, Italy also rescued 5-thousand migrants in Italian waters in what is becoming a common routine.
The new arrivals add to the nearly 60-thousand who have made their way to Italy by boat since the beginning of the year, more than the 42-thousand migrants who entered during the whole of 2013.
Most are African or Middle Eastern refugees who pay hundreds or thousands each to smugglers in Libya who pack them into unsafe fishing vessels.
Officials say the numbers have swelled this year due to increasing instability in Libya.
On the beach at Pozzallo, 17-year-old Ibrahim from Gambia said that, though the journey had been harrowing, he hoped reaching Europe would be worth the risk.
He said he paid 1-thousand Libyan dinars - equivalent to 604 euros or 826 US dollars - to a smuggler for passage from Libya, and that he had travelled for two days on a boat carrying 115 people, four of whom had died en route.
He was clearly happy to be in Pozzallo, and hopeful that his arrival in Europe would improve his financial prospects.
Italy says the European Union needs to shoulder more of the costs of the rescue operations and will use its EU presidency starting Tuesday to press its case.