The earthquake was measured at 3.7 on the Richter scale.

The tremors were felt in the Eternal City, Vatican City and the Alban hills zone, which has recorded frequent seismic activity of very low magnitudes.

The epicentre of the quake was near Colonna, a small city around 30 kilometres east of Rome.

Despite the minor magnitude, witnesses in Rome were scared and took to social media to speak of their shock at the mini-earthquake, with one school-teacher tweeting: “Thank god I was on the ground floor and didn’t feel it too badly, though it gave me a fright.”

“It’s awful when you’re on a higher floor,” she added.

“Apparently it’s actually 3.7.

“Still bad enough, and not what you want right before going to bed.”

The Richter scale suggests earthquakes of that size are “often felt by people” but “rarely cause damage” although the “shaking of indoor objects can be noticeable”.

Independent scientific group European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said that around three million citizens will have felt the large tremors.

The US Geological Survey advised residents that the quake was also felt by locals in Croatia and nearby San Marino.