Six people, including five young teenagers, were crushed to death in the early hours of Saturday in a stampede at a packed nightclub, officials said.
Fire brigades said the stampede took place in the Lanterna Azzurra nightclub in the town of Corinaldo, near Ancona, on the Adriatic coast, where rapper Sfera Ebbasta was performing.
Three girls, two boys and a mother who had accompanied her child to the event, died in the incident. A police official told Sky Italia TV that the teenagers were all aged between 14 and 16, while the dead woman was 39.
More than 100 other people were injured, including 13 who were seriously hurt, officials said.
The local fire brigade said someone might have sprayed a substance like pepper spray into the crowd, triggering a panicked rush to the emergency exits.
La Repubblica newspaper quoted a survivor as saying that at least one of the exits was blocked. Another eyewitness said a wall inside the club had collapsed in the melee.
“People cannot die like this,” said Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who also serves as interior minister.
“We will find those responsible for these six broken lives, those who out of malice, stupidity or greed have turned a party night into a tragedy,” he added in a statement.