Days after the region was hit by two earthquakes, a fresh quake measuring 6.6 on the Richter Scale hit Norcia in central Italy on Sunday.
There are no immediate reports of casualties from the quake that hit some 68 kilometres east-southeast of Perugia, in the country’s Umbria region, on Sunday morning.
The epicentre of the quake was just six kilometres north of the ancient town of Norcia, which has a population of around 5,000 people but tremors were felt as far away as Rome and Venice.
The world famous Basilica of St Benedict in Norcia and other buildings have been destroyed, with the streets of the town now covered in rubble from the tremor.
Firefighters were seen in action in Norcia’s main square and in some cases were helping people -- including many monks and nuns in their habits from a nearby monastery -- running down small alleyway seeking safety.
Television crews in Norcia showed rubble on the ground and damage to ancient structures, but it was unclear whether the damage was related to the most recent quake.
It comes after an earthquake measuring 6.4 struck east of the city on Wednesday, tremors from which were felt as far away as the capital Rome.
The quakes come two months after almost 300 people were killed in the region by a quake that levelled several small towns.