Three earthquakes (magnitude 5.4, 6.1 and 4.9, respectively) struck Italy about two hours apart from each other and caused the collapse of several old structures, including a number of historic rural churches that were empty at the time.
Thankfully, there were no reports of casualties and few serious injuries.
About five hours after the first quake, Civil Protection department chief Fabrizio Curcio said "tens" of people were reported hurt but only four suffered serious, non-life threatening injuries.
"The reports are not as catastrophic as we feared," he said.
All indications were that the damage would not approach that caused by the major quake that struck the Marche, Lazio and Umbria regions on Aug. 24, which devastated several towns and killed nearly 300 people.
Amateur video footage on television showed clouds of dust rising as parts of buildings collapsed in some towns, including a bell-tower damaged on Aug. 24 that now fell and crushed a building in Camerino.
Massive boulders, some the size of cars, fell on the main north-south road of the Nera River valley that links mountain communities.
The epicenters of the quakes were near the town of Castelsantangelo sul Nera in the Marche region.
BREAKING: Strong 5.4 Magnitude Quake Hits Central Italy, Rattles Rome.pic.twitter.com/1guZ4kzdZT— Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) October 26, 2016
The historic late 15th-century rural church of San Salvatore in Campo, near Norcia in the Umbria region, which had been weakened by the August quake, collapsed.
"It was an unheard-of violence. Many houses collapsed," the mayor of hard-hit Ussita, Marco Rinaldi, said. "The facade of the church collapsed. By now I have felt many earthquakes. This is the strongest of my life. It was something terrible."
Calling the events "apocalyptic," he said the town and its hamlets were "finished."
Electrical power was lost in some of the areas and some roads were closed.
"We're without power, waiting for emergency crews," said Mauro Falcucci, the mayor of Castelsantangelo sul Nera, near the epicenter. "We can't see anything. It's tough. Really tough."
The quakes also caused further damage to already precarious structures in Amatrice, the town worst hit by the 6.2-magnitude tremor in August that struck a cluster of mountain communities 85 miles east of Rome.
Almost 200 of the victims died in Amatrice, which was full of holidaymakers ahead of its 50th annual food festival, set for the weekend. Up to 15 tourists were believed to have been buried when the town's Hotel Roma imploded.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Stefano De Nicolo