A powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake followed by a series of aftershocks rocked central Italy.
Strong tremors were felt in the country's capital, Rome, and several small towns and villages have been seriously damaged with at least 10 people reportedly killed.
The quake hit at 01:36 GMT with an epicenter 76 kilometers southeast of the city of Perugia, the US Geological Survey reported.
The town of Norcia, home to some 5,000 residents, lies just 10km southeast of the quake's epicenter, according to US Geological Survey [USGS]. The ancient Italian city of Spoleto in the Perugia province with some 40,000 residents is located 35km east of the quake.
The earthquake hit 126km north of Rome, the largest and most populous city of the region with 2.6 million people.
The shaking appears to have woken up quite a few residents in central Italy. Besides Rome, aftershocks were also felt in Florence.
The tremors lasted for about 20-30 seconds, eyewitnesses said.
A series of strong aftershocks followed the initial quake, with one of them having an estimated magnitude of at least 5.4.
People have reportedly run in panic into the streets in central Umbria and Le Marche regions, according to RAI radio, cited by AFP.
Meanwhile, the Italian authorities are monitoring the situation and have been in contact with the Civil Protection Agency, the prime minister's spokesman said on Twitter.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team