The epicentre of the earthquake was located at a depth of five kilometres below the earth's crust, 35 kilometres north of Florence, where the tremors were felt by residents.
There were no reports of injuries to people or damage to property, but those living in the towns nearest to the epicentre – Firenzuola, Borgo San Lorenzo and Barberino del Mugello – fled their homes for fears of further shocks.
”The quake was keenly felt by the local population,” Angelo Bassi, head of Florence's Civil Protection unit, told La Nazione.
Checks were carried out on Monday to ensure the quake had not damaged buildings structurally.
”At the moment we have no reports of damage,” Bassi added.
While in Italy earthquakes are a fairly common occurrence, residents in lower Austria were also panicked yesterday, when a freak earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale was recorded.