Photos of Italian Towns Before and After Deadly Earthquake

The 6.2-magnitude quake struck in the middle of the night.

— -- A deadly earthquake that shook Italy early this morning has left rubble and debris where picturesque Italian streets and buildings once stood.

The death toll has now reached 159 after the 6.2 magnitude quake struck in the middle of the night while many residents were asleep in their homes.

In the town of Amatrice, the damage was so extensive that its mayor told The Associated Press, "The town isn't here anymore."

Here are some before and after snapshots from areas in Arquata del Tronto and Amatrice in central Italy.

"Hearing the mayor of Amatrice say that the town no longer exists, and learning there are children among the dead, I am deeply saddened," the pope said.

"I cannot fail but to express my heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness to all those in those zones afflicted," he added, offering "condolences to those who have lost love ones and my spiritual support to those who are anxious and afraid."