Italy's Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said the quake struck at 12:33 (1033 GMT) in a mountainous region near the Tuscan coast between the provinces of Massa e Carrara and Luca.
Mayor Riccardo Ballerini of Lunigiana, near the epicenter, told Sky TG 24 that some buildings in his town had sustained damage, including collapsed walls, but that there were no reports of injuries.
The quake, which struck at a depth of five kilometers (three miles), was felt as far away as Milan, Verona and Florence, a radius of more than 160 kilometers (100 miles).
Television footage showed an interior begin to shake as Italy's equal opportunity and sports minister Josefa Idem was speaking at the Reggio Emilia city hall, some 70 kilometers away (40 miles). The event was halted and the building evacuated.
The news agency ANSA said many people in the town of Carrara near the epicenter left their houses in fear, but that there were no immediate signs of damage.
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