People are evacuated from an hospital following an earthquake in Rieti, Italy, October 30, 2016.
People are evacuated from an hospital following an earthquake in Rieti, Italy, October 30, 2016.

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy on Sunday, although there are no immediate reports of casualties it did cause the collapse of more buildings in small cities already shaken by tremors in the past two months.

It was a stronger quake than the one which hit central Italy on August 24, killing nearly 300 people.

There have been thousands of aftershocks since then, including two powerful tremors last Wednesday.

Italy's emergency services reported severe damage in multiple locations in the central regions of Marche and Umbria on Sunday.

The ancient Basilica of St. Benedict in the walled town of Norcia, almost 100 kilometres from Perugia, was devastated by the quake, the monks said.

Images on television showed one side of the church reduced to rubble, and another church in the town centre also collapsed.

"This morning's quake has hit the few things that were left standing. We will have to start from scratch," Michele Franchi, the deputy mayor of Arquata del Tronto, told Rai television.

Many of these places were evacuated after the August disaster and were largely deserted on Sunday morning when the quake hit at around 6:40 GMT.

The earthquake was felt as far north as Bolzano, near the border with Austria and as far south as the Puglia region at the southern tip of the Italian peninsula.

A patient is evacuated from an hospital following an earthquake in Rieti, Italy, October 30, 2016. (Reuters)
A patient is evacuated from an hospital following an earthquake in Rieti, Italy, October 30, 2016. (Reuters)

The quake also caused panic in the capital Rome, where transport authorities closed down the metro system for checks.

Italy sits on two fault lines, making it one of the most seismically active countries in Europe.

The deadliest earthquake since the start of the 20th century came in 1908 when an earthquake followed by a tsunami killed an estimated 80,000 people in the southern regions of Reggio Calabria and Sicily.

Source: Reuters