The quake hit at 03:36am (01:36 GMT), 76 km southeast of the city of Perugia, at the very shallow depth of 10km (six miles), the USGS said.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the quake hit at 03:36 (01:36 GMT), 76 km (47 miles) southeast of the city of Perugia, at the very shallow depth of 10km (six miles).
La Repubblica newspaper reported that buildings in Rome shook for 20 seconds. The Mayor of Amatrice is said on Italian radio that "half the town is gone".
Lina Mercantini of Ceselli, Umbria, told Reuters the earthquake "was so strong. It seemed the bed was walking across the room by itself with us on it."
Italy's Civil Protection agency has described the earthquake as "severe".
The Prime Minister’s office has indicated that rescue teams are being sent to the worst-hit areas.