The strongest earthquake to hit Italy in the past three years has caused serious damage to several historic buildings, and destroyed at least two ancient bell towers.
A 14th Century Castle in San Felice Sul Panaro was also badly damaged, and the the local church was destroyed.
Rescue officials are checking reports that other people were buried under the rubble.
Italian TV is reporting that at least three people have been killed in an earthquake in northwest Italy. Investigators say rescue work is still going on but details are beginning to emerge:
- 6.3 magnitude
- 30 miles northwest of Bologna
- Relatively shallow depth of 6.2 miles
A strong earthquake rocked a large swathe of northern Italy causing at least three deaths and collapsing rural factories and ancient bell towers in towns.
The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 4.04am local time and had a magnitude of 5.9, was in the plains near Modena.
One person working a night shift died in the collapse of a factory and two others were killed in the collapse of another building. Rescue officials were checking reports that other people were buried under rubble.
Thousands of people in the area rushed into the streets after the quake, felt in the major towns of Bologna, Modena, Ferrara, Rovigo, Verona and Mantua.A series of strong aftershocks hit the area and local mayors ordered residents to stay out of their homes.