At least three people have died after a fire broke out at a hospital on Rome’s outskirts, forcing the evacuation of the facility and its patients.

People in the intensive care ward at St John the Evangelist hospital in Tivoli were transferred immediately to other hospitals via ambulance, the Tivoli mayor’s office said.

Other patients were moved into a nearby municipal gymnasium pending transfer to other facilities.

Italy Hospital Fire
A probe is under way into the blaze (Italian Firefighters Via AP)

The blaze began late on Friday and was eventually brought under control with three people confirmed killed, the fire department confirmed.

Video showed fire crews on ladders trying to reach the upper floors of the hospital as smoke billowed out.

Tivoli, which is located about 20 miles north-east of the centre of Rome, is a popular tourist destination.

It is best known for the archaeological sites of Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana.

The governor of the Lazio region, Francesco Rocca, said from the scene that three people were killed and an investigation would determine the cause of the blaze.

He acknowledged there were “notable delays” in updating Italy’s aging hospitals with sprinkler systems and other fire safety infrastructure.

Italian news reports said initial confusion over the casualty figures arose because a body, already in the hospital mortuary, was initially counted among the fire victims.

Premier Giorgia Meloni offered a note of condolence to the families of the victims.