The whirlwind swept across the area for around half an hour from 7:00 pm on Monday night, with wind speeds reaching 220 km/h.

The tornado caused chaos across several nearby towns, damaging schools and homes, uprooting trees and knocking over business and road signs and lamp posts.

A truck parked at a service station was upturned by the strong winds, while six parked caravans were also thrown through the air, obstructing part of the nearby A1 motorway.

A 19-year-old foreign citizen is in intensive care after suffering a serious head injury when the caravan he was in became airborne.

The worst affected towns were San Nicola la Strada, where all eight injuries were reported, as well as San Marco Evangelista, Marcianise, and San Tammaro. 

In San Nicola la Strada, two kilometres south of Caserta, a large sign for fast food restaurant Burger King fell on parked cars, causing severe damage but no injuries.

Mayor Vita Marotta ordered closed one of the town’s schools after damage to its roof was reported.

All schools were ordered closed on Tuesday in Maddaloni, a Caserta town of around 40,000 inhabitants, while checks on buildings were carried out.