Rome: At least one person died of a heart attack when a huge earthquake hit southern Italy in the early hours of Friday, reported Xinhua.
The quake sent panicked residents into the streets and damaged buildings.
The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 5.3. The temblor struck at 1:05 am on Friday (local time), rattling small towns in northern Calabria and southern Basilicata, in an area which includes Pollino national park.
Local authorities said a hospital was evacuated as a precaution. Some mayors ordered schools to be closed so experts could inspect for any damage.
The area is prone to earthquakes. Seismologist Rita Di Giovambattista told Sky TG24 TV that a series of much smaller tremors has rattled the area since 2010.
(With PTI inputs)