At least a dozen people are reported dead with more casualties expected after a powerful earthquake hit central Italy early this morning.
The quake registered 6.3 on the Richter Scale.
Emergency services are on the scene as locals try to salvage what is left of their homes.
The epicentre is thought to be near the historical city of L’Aquila where four children are said to have died. Residents in Rome, where seismic activity is rare, are said to have felt the tremor.
More casualties are expected after part of a university residence collasped. It is not known if anyone was inside.
A church tower and several houses have also been flattened. At least two people are reported dead in a neighbouring village.
The quake is the latest and strongest in a series to hit the L’Aquila area. Earthquakes often result in extensive damage in parts of Italy because of some buildings being centuries old.
Quake kills at least a dozen in Italy