At least 10 people were injured after a magnitude 4.8 earthquake generated by the eruption of Mount Etna rocked eastern Sicily early Wednesday.
The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck at 3:19 a.m. in Acitrezza which is located north of Catania, the largest city in the eastern part of the Mediterranean island.
The temblor had a depth of about 6 miles, and damaged several homes in the area in addition to a statue at a church in Santa Venerina, Sky News reported.
Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanos, has been erupting since Monday and sending volcanic ash and heavy smoke in the air.
"Etna remains a dangerous volcano, and this country of ours is unfortunately fragile," government undersecretary Vito Crimi said as he reported 10 people injured.
The most seriously injured by the quake was a 70-year-old man who fractured ribs and was undergoing surgery for chest injuries. A 71-year-old patient was being kept in hospital for observation, while others were treated and released, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
Some 18 other people went to local hospitals suffering from panic attacks or shock, news reports said.
An 80-year-old man was extracted from the rubble of his home that crumbled, ANSA reported.
Another woman told local radio that a wardrobe in her home fell over during the quake and trapped her sister, who had to be pulled out by their father.
The Civil Protection agency said temporary shelters were being set up in gyms or municipal buildings for people whose houses were damaged or who were too frightened to return to their homes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.