Firefighters said they had received numerous inquiries from people after the tremor struck shortly after 5:00 am, estimated at 3.3 magnitude by the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology.
The epicentre was located around 11 kilometres north-east of Rome, according to Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the INGV.
? #Roma 05:03 #11maggio scossa #terremoto ML 3.3 registrata a #FonteNuova. Al momento alle sale operative dei #vigilidelfuoco non sono giunte richieste di soccorso né segnalazione di danni pic.twitter.com/B1ZYL4Nb4D
— Vigili del Fuoco (@emergenzavvf) May 11, 2020
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.
Fortunately that wasn't the case in this instance, said Alessandro Amato, a seismologist at the INGV, who said that the area where the earthquake occurred didn't have a history of tremors.
“Now we'll have to see if it is an isolated episode and if there will be more aftershocks,” he told AGI news agency. “For the moment there's nothing.”
Watch the moment the quake hit Rome, captured by a webcam:
Quakes of this size occur hundreds if not thousands of times a year in Italy, said a spokesperson for the Civil Protection department, Pierfrancesco De Milito.
“The earthquake felt in Rome woke up a lot of people, but it didn't do damage in… the municipalities closest to the epicentre,” he told Rai News.