[Link contains multiple pictures revealing the devastation]
- The 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck near Norcia in Umbria, central Italy, at around 3.30am local time
- 38 dead including eight-month-old baby, his brother, nine, and their parents, who were buried in their sleep
- The hardest-hit towns were reported as Amatrice and Accumoli - some areas are completely cut off
- Elderly couple from Pescara del Tronto have died - 100 people still missing in village of Arquata del Tronto
- A newborn baby was found dead after being pulled from a family home in the same village
- Quake shook buildings in the capital Rome - around 100 miles away - and was felt across Italy and in Croatia
- Mayor of Amatrice: 'The roads in and out of town are cut off. Half the town is gone - there are many dead'
- Umbrian region is packed with tourists - popular with Britons and also Italians escaping summer heat
- Are you caught up in the Italian earthquake? Send your photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org or email email@example.com
A powerful earthquake has rocked Italy overnight killing at least 38 people including two children and burying many more as they slept.
The 6.2-magnitude quake at around 3.30am local time was so powerful it rocked buildings in the centre of Rome more than 100 miles away and was felt across Italy.
Survivors have described 'apocalyptic' scenes in towns and villages near the city of Perugia - the capital of the tourist-packed Umbrian region, which is especially popular with British holidaymakers.
At least 38 are feared dead in the earthquake after people were crushed by falling buildings or suffocated by the rubble - rescuers have pulled out several from the ruins but can still hear voices from below.
Its epicentre was in Norcia in Umbria, about 105 miles north east of Rome, while the hardest-hit towns were reported as Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto. Falling bridges and landslides mean some areas are still cut off with emergency teams can only get there on foot.
The mayor of Accumoli, Stefano Petrucci, said this morning: 'My town isn't here anymore' as people were carried out of ruined buildings on stretchers and people desperately searched the debris for survivors or sobbed as they inspected their own ruined homes.
It is a disaster, we have no light, no telephones, the rescue services have not got here yet.'
The quake also destroyed homes and buried people under rubble in the small town of Amatrice, where many more are feared dead.
'The roads in and out of town are cut off. Half the town is gone,' said the town's mayor Sergio Pirozzi.
He added: 'There are people under the rubble... There's been a landslide and a bridge might collapse. The situation is dramatic, there are many dead. I cannot give a toll for now because rescue efforts are under way and it is very, very difficult'.
The centre of Amatrice was devastated, with entire palazzos razed to the ground. Rocks and metal tumbled on to the streets and dazed residents huddled in piazzas as aftershocks continued into the early hours.
'The whole ceiling fell but did not hit me,' marveled resident Maria Gianni. 'I just managed to put a pillow on my head and I wasn't hit luckily, just slightly injured my leg.'
Another resident said she had been woken by the shaking in time to witness the wall of her bedroom cracking open. She was able to escape into the street with her children.
One witness named Marco, a sanitation worker from Amatrice, told Repubblica how everything 'fell apart' in an instant.
'It was a miracle for me to survive... I just woke up when suddenly everything collapsed. Ten second were enough to destroy everything,' he said.
A witness in Configno, near Amatrice, recalled: 'It was a nightmare. We woke up at 3.35am, the furniture falling down, walls moving more than a meter. We rushed out, many are still in their underpants here, in the street. We did some bonfires in the square and went to help old people to get out from their houses.'
As daylight dawned, residents, civil protection workers and even priests began digging out with shovels, bulldozers and their bare hands, trying to reach survivors. There was a sigh of relief as a woman was pulled out alive from one building, followed by a dog.
'We need chain saws, shears to cut iron bars, and jacks to remove beams: everything, we need everything,' civil protection worker Andrea Gentili told The Associated Press.
'I don't know what to say. We are living this immense tragedy,' said the Rev. Savino D'Amelio, an Amatrice parish priest. 'We are only hoping there will be the least number of victims possible and that we all have the courage to move on.'
In Amatrice, the ANSA news agency reported two bodies had been pulled from one building. The Rev. Fabio Gammarota told ANSA another three were killed in a separate collapse.
"Quakes with this magnitude at this depth in our territory in general create building collapses, which can result in deaths," said the head of Italy's civil protection service, Fabrizio Curcio. He added that the region is popular with tourists escaping the heat of Rome, with more residents than at other times of the year, and that a single building collapse could raise the toll significantly.
A 7.4-magnitude quake shook the southern Atlantic Ocean early Friday, the US Geological Survey said, with an epicenter 195 miles (316 kilometers) from islands hosting a British Antarctic research station.
There was no immediate tsunami warning.
The quake struck at 5:32 am local time (0732 GMT) at a depth of 10 kilometers. It was centered east-southeast of the British administered South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.