One man has died in a series of strong earthquakes which have hit central Italy, a region devastated by deadly tremors last year.

Four quakes of magnitude 5.2 and higher struck near the hill town of Amatrice, 100km northeast of Rome, in the space of four hours.

Much of the area had already been abandoned after last year's earthquakes.

The central Lazio, Marche and Abruzzo regions have been grappling with heavy snow, and one man aged about 82 died after the snow and one of the tremors made the roof of a farm building fall on him, a fire service spokesman said. A hotel in Abruzzo was hit by an avalanche and local media reported three people were feared missing.


There were 20 people plus staff at the hotel, regional president Luciano D'Alfonso wrote on Facebook.

Twenty firemen, two mountain rescue teams, six ambulances and local police were heading for the site, a civil protection agency spokesman said.

No other deaths or serious injuries were reported.

Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said soldiers would help rescue teams get to the affected villages.