Rescuers are searching in darkness and heavy rain after two powerful earthquakes hit an area of central Italy, knocking out power and sparking panic.
A quake measuring 5.4 at 7.10pm local time shook buildings as far away as the capital, Rome, 80 miles away.
Two hours later a strong aftershock pulverised buildings which had already been weakened by the earlier tremor.
Some buildings have collapsed, a motorway has been closed and many people in the countryside were plunged into darkness as the power was knocked out but there have been no reports of casualties.
The Mayor of the town of Ussita, Marco Rinaldi, said: 'It was a very strong earthquake, apocalyptic. People are screaming on the street and now we are without lights.
'Many houses have collapsed. Our town is finished.'
Mr Rinaldi said: 'The second quake was a long, terrible one.'
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who is on his way to Rome to monitor the situation, tweeted: 'I want to thank everyone who is working in heavy rains in areas of #terremoto. All of Italy embraces the strong communities affected.'
The mayor of Serravalle del Chienti, Gabriele Santamarianova, said the quake felt 'like bombs were falling'.
'We saw a cloud of dust, we don't yet know what has fallen down. We'll see once the sun comes up.'
US Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle said of the area: 'They have a lot of old buildings that weren't constructed at a time with modern seismic (building) codes.'
One Twitter user in Italy, Sofia, wrote: 'I'm so scared of these earthquakes don't think i'll sleep tonight #Terremoto.'
The US Geological Survey said the first earthquake at 7.10pm local time measured 5.6 on the Richter scale but that was later revised to 5.4.
The second quake was felt as far south as Rome, with buildings swaying for even longer than the initial quake.
The mayor of nearby Castel Santangelo Sul Nera, Mauro Falcucci, said tonight: 'We're without power, waiting for emergency crews. We can't see anything. It's tough. Really tough.'
He said some buildings had collapsed but there were no immediate reports of any fatalities. But he said the darkness, and heavy rain, were impeding the search.
A section of motorway north of Rome was closed due to a landslide, said Ornella De Luca, from Italy's civil protection agency.
Italy's National Vulcanology Centre said the epicentre was in Castel Santangelo Sul Nera, 50 miles from Perugia in the central spine of Italy, which has traditionally been prone to quakes, known in Italian as terremoto.
A Facebook post from the town said: 'One of the worst-affected municipalities, numerous collapses, all the people currently in the street (about 300 people).
'There have been two aftershocks. The Civil Protection declares - 'at the moment there are dead or injured'!'