They said 70 people were still reported missing in an around the medieval town which was at the epicentre of the quake.
Around 5,000 rescue workers searched for survivors through last night. The most frantic rescue efforts were at a collapsed dormitory at the University of L’Aquila where a JCB digger combed away debris.
Amid the clouds of dust could be seen all the paraphernalia of student life - text books, exam notes, diaries, photographs, pots and pans, a kitchen sink, photographs and exercise equipment.
Firefighters waded into the wreckage ripping away what they could by hand but there was no sign of life. During the night they found at least one body.
The collapsed dorm is perilously close to an unstable five-storey building and at least twice during the night firefighters had to run away from the wreckage as aftershocks sent rubble tumbling from the nearby block.
As rescuers desperately ploughed through the rubble looters were caught raiding abandoned homes nearby.