As many as 70 people were injured, some with serious burns.
A video published on Twitter by the fire service showed a huge column of black smoke billowing from the wreckage of the truck. The interchange connects two major highways linking northern Italy with the Adriatic coast, a popular destination as Italy heads into its major summer holiday next week.
The tanker immediately caught fire, and then exploded a short time later across eight lanes, collapsing part of the raised highway.
Terrified residents reported their houses "shook" at around 12.50pm, as shattered glass led to a number of injuries. Many people were injured from debris that flew around during the explosion.
Firefighters have extinguished the blaze and begun to investigate why it happened.
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