A magnitude 5.8 earthquake on Tuesday rocked northern Italy killing at least 15 people. It was followed by many aftershocks, some registering more than 5.0 in magnitude.
The tremors felled factories, warehouses and a church in the same region still struggling to recover from another deadly quake that killed seven people on May 20.
The region around Bologna is among the country's most productive. Italy is in the midst of economic recession and struggling to tame its massive debt as the Eurozone debt crisis worsens.
Prime Minister Mario Monti pledged to reporters the government will do "all that it must and all that is possible in the briefest period to guarantee the resumption of normal life in this area that is so special, so important and so productive for Italy."
When the quake hit just after 9:00 a.m. (0700GMT), Monti was meeting with emergency officials in Rome to discuss the impact of the earlier quake, which struck in the middle of the night and left at least 7,000 homeless.
In Mirandola, near the quake's epicenter 40 kilometers northwest of the city of Bologna, the main cathedral collapsed along with the town's oldest church, St. Frances.
The LaPresse news agency reported others were still buried under the rubble of collapsed homes and factories in the region. Emergency crews were trying to sift through the twisted steel and broken stone, looking for victims.
Tall buildings and schools were evacuated as far away as Milan as a precaution before people were allowed to re-enter. Train lines connecting Bologna with other northern cities were halted while authorities checked for any damage.
Italy's soccer match against Luxembourg, a warm-up match for the Euro 2012 championships, was canceled due to the disaster. The game was due to be played Tuesday in Parma, just 40 miles (60 kilometers) west of the quake.