The epicentre of the quake was near Colonna, a small city around 30 kilometres east of Rome.
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There was no noticeable damage or injuries from the tremor, local media said, citing the civil protection service and witnesses, but many residents of Colonna and surrounding areas did leave their homes after the quake hit at 8:43 pm.
It was at a shallow 9 kilometres deep, which explains why the quake was felt even though it was of a moderate magnitude, experts told the Agi news agency.
Rome is not directly situated in a zone of strong seismic activity, but stronger earthquakes in the neighbouring Abruzzo region have often been felt in the Italian capital.