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Central Italy rocked by strong 4.8 earthquake

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The Local/AFP ([email protected])
Central Italy rocked by strong 4.8 earthquake
British nationals who never considered applying for an Italian passport are now doing so to reclaim their pre-Brexit rights. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP.

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake struck north of Florence in the early hours of Monday, causing little damage but sending shaken residents running into the streets.

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Schools were closed and high speed train services briefly interrupted in some areas while authorities conducted safety checks.

The earthquake was recorded at 5.10am local time and was measured at 4.8 on the Richter scale, according to Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).

Its epicentre was near Marradi, a town of about 3,000 residents within the Apennine mountain range just 42km north of the city of Florence.

"The fear was powerful and strong, there are many citizens still on the streets," Marradi mayor Tommaso Triberti told Sky Tg24.

"We are proceeding with the checks, the schools are closed. At the moment the reports are of minor damage," he said.

The earthquake was also felt in parts of the neighbouring Emilia-Romagna region, particularly in the provinces of Forlì-Cesena and Ravenna around the Apennines, Emilia-Romagna President Stefano Bonaccini wrote on his Facebook page.

Firefighters wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that frightened residents had been calling emergency services but "no personal injuries have been reported at this time".

Schools were closed as a precautionary measure on Monday in Marradi and the nearby towns of Borgo San Lorenzo and Firenzuola to allow technicians to perform checks.

Triberti told Rainews24 television that firefighters were conducting checks inside private homes.

"There is a lot of concern. All the people are in the street but no particular damage has been reported," he said.

A 4.5-magnitude earthquake struck nearby Mugello in 2019, again causing minimal damage but cracking the facade of a 17th-century church.

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The town of Mugello was hit by a devastating earthquake in 1919, one of the century's worst, killing about 100 people.

The central Apennines are at high risk of seismic activity. 

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