A section of the embankment of the River Arno in central Florence collapsed on Wednesday morning, sending part of the road and at least 20 parked cars into a newly formed ditch.
The collapse took place very close to the famous Ponte Vecchio, a medieval covered bridge over the Arno.
The collapsed segment is about 200m (650ft) in length and 7m (23ft) across.
Firefighters believe the chasm has been created by the failure of a large water pipe beneath the surface.
Florence’s Mayor Dario Nardella tweeted (in Italian) that no-one had been harmed in the incident on Lungarno Torrigiani.
He appealed to motorists to remove their cars from the nearby area, and said the water supply to part of the city centre was cut off.
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