More than 120 immigrants are being held in southern Italy after arriving on board a luxury yacht reportedly from Turkey.
It is thought they may be Kurds and appear to be from several countries including Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
They are being questioned at a processing centre in Calabria.
Motorists alerted police after spotting the group, which included 35 children, walking along a main road.
They had apparently come ashore in small dinghies after the yacht had moored offshore. Coast guards have found no sign of the vessel.
Two people believed to be Russians are also being questioned. One was said to have been carrying a pack containing a pair of binoculars and a dozen mobile phones.
The mayor of Riace has said his town is preparing to welcome the migrants.