But residents “should regain their tranquility as soon as possible because despite the legitimate fright and fear, for now there is just light damage and cracks,” Molise Gov. Donato Toma advised. He later said some uninhabited homes had collapsed.
Italy’s national seismology agency INGV said in a statement that the strongest quake measured 5.1 and struck at 8:19 p.m. That jolt was followed in rapid succession by eight more tremors, with the strongest measuring at 4.4. In all some 27 quakes, most of them lower than 2.5, rattled the area Thursday.
The epicentre of the quakes was Montecilfone, a small town in Campobasso province.
The biggest jolt was felt in much of Italy’s south, including in Rome and Naples on the other side of the boot-shaped peninsula, state radio said.
The temblors also alarmed tourists in beach towns along the Adriatic at the height of Italy’s summer holiday season, the Italian news agency ANSA said.