Rescuers workers have pulled a woman alive from the rubble of her apartment building, 12 hours after aftershocks of an earthquake claimed at least 17 lives in northern Italy.

The 65-year-old was pulled out alive by rescuers on Tuesday night after being trapped under the rubble of her apartment's kitchen in the town of Cavezzo in Modena province.

Besides the dead, the  5.8-magnitude quake left about 200 injured when it struck just after 9am local time (07:00GMT), with an epicentre 40km northwest of Bologna.

The area is not far from where the 6.0-magnitude quake that killed seven people on May 20 was centred.

Firefighters told Sky TG24 that the woman shouted out to rescuers as they were about to reach her. They said that a piece of furniture, which had toppled over, saved her from being crushed by the wreckage.

The building had been damaged in the first earthquake, on May 20, and had been vacant since.

The woman had just gone back inside it on Tuesday morning to retrieve some clothes when the latest quake knocked down the building, firefighters said. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Rescue workers scrambled to respond to reports of people trapped under the rubble of houses and warehouses in the Emilia-Romagna region, where several building sites and workshops had just reopened after the previous quake.

Buildings shaken

Italian television showed buildings shaking and collapsing, ambulances racing across towns and rescue workers battling to remove rubble.

Earlier, Al Jazeera's Sabina Castelfranco reported from Cavezzo that the town's centre had been evacuated and cordoned off.

"There is rubble everywhere, homes have collapsed, and the situation is very difficult," she said. "Tent cities have been set up in various towns so that they can be given shelter overnight."

Residents stood in shock looking at the damage.

Workshops and factories outside Cavezzo, a village about 30km from Modena, suffered considerable damage, a Reuters reporter said.

Sports car maker Ferrari and motorcycle firm Ducati closed their plants in the region for safety reasons.

The quake was felt across northern and central Italy, including in the city of Milan.

The May 20 earthquake was the deadliest to strike Italy since 2009 when a tremor partially destroyed the central city of L'Aquila, killing about 300 and leaving thousands homeless.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies