A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has brought down buildings in mountainous central Italy, trapping people under rubble and sending others fleeing into the streets.
Italy sits on two fault lines, making it one of the most seismically active countries in Europe.
Here is a list of major earthquakes in Italy in the past century:
13 Jan 1915 - Some 32,600 were killed when an earthquake measuring 7.0 struck Avezzano in central Italy.
27 July 1930 - A quake measuring 6.5 strikes the region of Irpinia in southern Italy, killing around 1400 people.
6 May 1976 - An earthquake measuring 6.5 rocks Friuli in Italy's northeastern corner, killing 976 people and leaving 70,000 others homeless.
23 Nov 1980 - Some 2735 people were killed and more than 7500 injured in an earthquake measuring 6.5. The epicentre was at Eboli but damage was reported over a huge area towards Naples.
13 Dec 1990 - Earthquake centred in the sea off Sicily kills 13 people and injures 200.
26 Sept 26 1997 - Two earthquakes measuring 6.4 kill 11 people and cause serious damage to the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi, damaging priceless Medieval frescoes.
17 July 2001 - An earthquake measuring 5.2 shakes the northern Italian region of Alto Adige, killing one woman.
31 Oct 31 2002 - A 5.9 shake hits Campobasso, south-central Italy, killing 30 people, most of them children, in San Giuliano di Puglia.
6 April 2009 - A powerful earthquake strikes the Abruzzo area east of Rome. It killed more than 300 people and devastated the 13th century city of L'Aquila.
29 May 2012 - More than 16 people were killed and 350 injured in the second big earthquake to hit the area around Modena in northern Italy. A quake nine days earlier killed nearly 10 people.