The fund-raising initiative was launched by food blogger, Paolo Campana, on Facebook yesterday and within hours over 700 restaurants had agreed to sign up.
Over 200 of those who were killed in the quake, the most destructive to hit Italy since L’Aquila in 2009, were in Amatrice, the Lazio town’s mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, said.
The overall death toll on Thursday morning was so far confirmed at 247. Measuring 6.0-6.2 magnitude, the quake also hit the town of Accumoli, also in Lazio, and Pescara del Tronto and Arquata del Tronto, in Marche.
Amatrice had been due to host the 50th annual food festival celebrating its signature dish, which uses a centuries-old tomato-based sauce recipe with cured pork cheek, this weekend.
The food festival had seen a rise in the number of visitors to the town, making it harder for authorities to judge how many were there when the earthquake struck in the early hours of Wednesday.