Rome earthquake made citizens leave their homes

An earthquake shook Rome and nearby coastal towns on Monday, rattling buildings and sparking panic throughout the region, witnesses said.

The earthquake registered 4.4 on the Richter scale, a spokesman at Italy's Civil Protection unit said.

Italy's National Geographic Institute said the epicentre appeared to be under the sea bed southwest of Rome near the coastal town of Anzio.

"It felt very strong, my legs are still shaking," Valentina, an employee at Anzio city hall told Reuters. "We ran outside when it started so we still don't know the effects."

Residents and workers throughout Rome fled their homes and offices as buildings in the Italian capital shook for around five seconds shortly after 2 p.m. (1200 GMT).

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