Etna has been particularly active since July.
A 4.8-magnitude quake struck early on Wednesday (Dec 26) near Europe's most active volcano Mount Etna, injuring several people, displacing some 600 and damaging buildings, Italian civil protection officials said.
Wednesday's quake was the strongest in the region since Monday, when Mount Etna spewed ash and forced the temporary closure of Sicilian airspace.
Italy's national seismology institute said it registered a magnitude of 4.8 and occurred at a relatively shallow depth, six-tenths-of-a-mile under the mountain's surface.
Two people were pulled from a collapsed building and around 10 were taken to hospital suffering light injuries from falling debris.
Image Buildings in the area will have to be rebuilt
In the town of Piano d'Api, firefighters removed cracked stucco from the bell tower of the damaged Santa Maria della Misericordia church.
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.
Italian media are reporting panic among local residents, many of whom run out into the streets.
Mt Etna on Sicily, locally called "Mongibello", is Europe's largest and most active volcano.
The ash plume, which began to emerge at around noon yesterday, disrupted flights at nearby Catania airport.
Lava was also observed emerging from a fissure in the side of Mount Etna, which is also known as a "flank" or lateral eruption.
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