The earthquake occurred in the Apennines – a mountain range with a high seismic risk – at 12:34 am local time, the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV) said.

It was followed by 15 aftershocks and registered at a depth of eight kilometres between the provinces of Rieti and L’Aquila.

Tremors could be felt in the nearby regions of Abruzzo, Lazio and Marche.

There are no reports of victims or damage so far.

A 6.2 magnitude quake hit the area in August 2016, killing at least 299 people and causing colossal damage.

Towns which were reduced to rubble are still recovering today.