CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Virginia's roster has taken on quite a few international players in recent years, but for many on the team the preseason trip to Italy will be the first time their passports are stamped.

"I'm really excited," senior guard Armaan Franklin said, "It's my first time leaving the United States, so I'm excited about that."

The Cavaliers departed on Wednesday for their preseason tour of Italy where they will play four exhibition games over a 10-day span. Play will start on August 13 in Rome, followed by a game in Florence on August 15 and two games on August 18-19 in Rapallo, highlighted by a pair of game against Serbian powerhouse KK Mega Mozzart.

This trip to Italy was originally planned for the summer of 2020, but COVID has delayed the tour for two years. UVA are one of five ACC programs taking preseason foreign tours, following Wake Forest (England, France, Amsterdam), Florida State (Canada), Clemson (France) and NC State (Bahamas), who have already departed for their trips.

"It's a huge advantage for one to have our guys here and then to be able to play against outside competition," assistant coach Kyle Getter said, "I think that's really going to be able to be beneficial for us moving forward."

Virginia returns their top six scorers from last season in Jayden Gardner, Franklin, Kihei Clark, Reece Beekman, Kadin Shedrick and Francisco Caffaro. In addition to having one of the most experienced cores in the country, the Cavaliers also added the second-highest rated recruiting class under Tony Bennett, ranked No. 13 according to 247 Sports, with four-star recruits Isaac Traudt, Isaac McKneely, Leon Bond and Ryan Dunn. UVA also brought in Ohio transfer Ben Vander Plas, a first team All-MAC selection last season.

With the mix of returners and new additions, Getter feels the extra time overseas will allow the coaching staff to experiment ahead of the season.

"We kind of know the guys returning and we're learning the incoming guys, how they'll fit in," Getter said, "But for us to actually piece that together and play against someone that maybe has a different style or approach, or maybe test some things out as well, some new ideas against outside competition to see how it works."

Due to the preseason tour, UVA also benefited from having 10 additional practices this summer before leaving for Italy. Already the Cavaliers can see the benefit of longer offseason coming off the heels of missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.

"I'm just excited for our team to go out there and build chemistry with the new guys and keep the chemistry with the returning guys and just be able to get closer and play more games together," Franklin said, "Just go out there and have a good time, but also play basketball and compete."

This will be the fifth international trip for Virginia and third under Bennett with the last coming in 2016, when the Cavaliers took a somewhat similar mix of veterans and exciting newcomers to Spain and went 5-0.

"I think more than anything, I think from a team building, team bonding, chemistry," Getter said, "I think this trip is going to be invaluable."