The snowslide covered cars, farm animals and part of Hotel Rigopiano in Abruzzo, east of Rome, as it violently surged down a mountainside yesterday.
Dozens of guests were staying at the luxury spa hotel in the region of Pescara at the time. Local media are reporting that up to 30 people have been found dead in the hotel.
Governor of Pescara, Antonio Di Marco, said on Facebook: "Unfortunately, a terrible tragedy happened, it seems that there may be some fatalities, but this has yet to be confirmed."
Emergency crews have been desperately trying to get to victims but have been hampered by a snow storm.
Phones at the exclusive venue are also completely dead and frantic relatives have been unable to get through to guests mobile phones.
On its website, Italian news agency Ansa quoted the head of a rescue squad that reached the hotel as saying: "There are many dead."
The tremor hit the centre of Italy - with the epicentre near Amatrice - and the second quake hit an hour later.
It comes just months after Italy was rocked by a series of even more powerful earthquakes, which caused widespread destruction in the north of the country and claimed hundreds of lives.