Huge sink-hole engulfs cars in Florence

A 200-meter-long chasm swallowed 20 parked cars and motorbikes in central Florence on Wednesday when a section of the embankment of the River Arno collapsed due to an underground water main break.

Residents in the picturesque area near famed medieval Ponte Vecchio bridge were evacuated after the sinkhole left them without water or electricity and several streets were closed to traffic and pedestrians.

Prosecutors are investigation the sinkhole, which did not cause any casualties.

Florence's mayor Dario Nardella claimed the underground flooding responsible for the sinkhole resulted from a gash in a two-foot diameter pipe and not a leak in the banks of the Arno. The pipe was one of the major water conduits running parallel to the river, Nardella said.

Local residents said the city has been laying down new water mains over the last two years in the neighbourhood.