A strong earthquake has struck central Italy, claiming many lives.
Buildings in the medieval town of L'Aquila, 95km (60 miles) from Rome, were destroyed by the 6.3-magnitude quake.
Italy's earthquake monitoring agency recorded the quake and its aftershocks.
Hundreds of injured survivors were taken to the local hospital, where doctors treated patients in the open air as only one operating theatre was functioning.
Rescuers are searching for survivors amid the rubble.
Experts said the historic town had many old buildings which were not strong enough to withstand the quake. Much of the old town centre was damaged.
Striking in the middle of the night, the 30-second quake sparked panic as residents fled into the streets.
Rescue officials have warned of a difficult night ahead, as thousands of people forced out of their damaged homes will need to be given temporary shelter.
Thousands may have been made homeless. A university dormitory, churches and a bell tower are believed to be among the buildings that collapsed.
A tent city was set up to house those who were made homeless.
The quake is also said to have cut phone and power lines and done damage elsewhere in the mountainous Abruzzo region.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has declared a state of emergency and cancelled a planned trip to Moscow.