The quake was so long and powerful that Rome residents were woken up by the shaking of their houses' walls, a RIA Novosti reporter said. Two ancient churches — the church of St. Benedict and the church of Santa Maria Argentea — were reportedly destroyed in the town of Norcia.
There are reports about destruction in the regions of Marche and Umbria.
Ussita Mayor Marco Rinaldi said as quoted by La Repubblica:
"It all collapsed, I see columns of smoke, it is a disaster, it is a catastrophe, I have seen hell."
He added that nobody is likely be injured as local residents left the settlement after first tremors several days ago.
Civil protection services are checking whether there were any casualties.
The most powerful 6.5-magnitude tremor was registered at 06:41 GMT. The epicenter of the earthquake laid 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep between the cities of Perugia and Macerata. The magnitude was initially measured at 7.1.
Seven other powerful tremors including those with 4.6 and 4.8 magnitude followed the major earthquake.
U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 7.1 earthquake has struck central Italy 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/dM7TZY7r1D— RP (@WhatDaffaq) 30 октября 2016 г.
Rome's authorities closed the underground to conduct necessary security checks. There are no reports about any damages in the Italy’s capital.
Map of the last 7 days of seismicity. The mainshock M6.5 is located about 10 km N-NE of Norcia pic.twitter.com/heBT0WSuyC— EMSC (@LastQuake) 30 октября 2016 г.
On August 24, a 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit Italy, causing damage across the regions of Umbria, Lazio and Marche and resulting in the deaths of over 290 people.