Italian police discover a cross that fell from a church near Bologna after a deadly earthquake on May 20, 2012.
Credits: . REUTERS/Giorgio Benvenuti
A powerful earthquake wreaked havoc in northern Italy early on Sunday, killing at least seven people and causing massive damage to the area's cultural heritage.
The 6.0 magnitude quake struck around 4 a.m. local time, covering a radius of at least 30 km. The quake's epicentre was about 4 km outside of a small town located northwest of Bologna.
Several historic and older buildings were no match for the intensity of the earthquake.
Workers continue to search through the damage with hopes of finding any more survivors. Italian police say at least fifty people were injured, in addition to the deaths.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti was in Chicago for the NATO summit when the quake struck. He said he would return to Italy as quickly as possible, arriving in Rome as early as monday night.
A 5.3 magnitude quake hit the area back in January. The last major earthquake to strike Italy was in 2009 when a 6.3 magnitude tremor rocked a central city, which killed almost 300 people.