Engineers successfully shifted the wreckage of the Costa Concordia from rocks, but the painstaking process is expected to go on into the night.
Costing an estimated £500 million, the process is one of the most costly and complex salvage operations ever.
Costa Concordia has been partly submerged in shallow waters off the Tuscan island of Giglio since the accident in January 2012.
The Concordia was carrying more than 4,000 people went it hit rocks off Giglio and capsized, causing the deaths of 32 people.
Two bodies have yet to be recovered and underwater cameras failed to find any sign of them as darkness fell and searchlights lit up the port.
The parbuckling operation saw the 114,500-ton sunken vessel slowly rotated upright using a series of huge jacks and steel pulleys.
Hollow metal boxes, which have been welded to the side of the ship, will be filled with water to help bring the Costa Concordia upright.
Once the ship is upright, engineers hope to attach an equal number of tanks filled with water on the other side to balance the ship.
Despite the operation being delayed for three hours because of poor weather conditions, engineers said they were satisfied with progress and not concerned about the time.
The trial of the ship's captain Francesco Schettino, who stands accused of causing the accident, has been adjourned while further tests on the doomed ship are carried out.