ROME – An earthquake struck Tuscany north of Florence on Monday, sending frightened people into the street in the middle of the night, opening up cracks in walls and damaging a church.
Mayors of towns in the area near the Appennine mountains known as Mugello said there were no injuries from the pre-dawn quake.
A wide crack opened up in the portico of the church of St. Sylvester in the town of Barberino. Cracks opened up in the walls of some houses, Tuscany Gov. Enrico Rossi told reporters. He said a gym was being set up for dozens of people to use as shelter while their homes were checked for any structural damage, while a tent camp would be erected for hundreds of others.
The quake was strongly felt in Florence, Tuscany's main city.
The national geophysics agency said the strongest in a series of temblors was measured at magnitude-4.5 and struck at 4:37 a.m. The epicenter was placed at 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) north of the town of Scarperia.
State railways said the high speed train line between Florence and Bologna was temporarily closed as a precaution, then later service resumed.
Schools in towns near the epicenter were closed as a precaution while experts checked for structural safety.
Geologists noted that, 100 years ago, a quake some 1,000 times more powerful struck the same area, killing some 100 people.