A volcano on the island of Stromboli erupted on Wednesday, throwing ash high into the sky, the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV) said.
Tourists, frightened by the unexpected explosion on the
small Mediterranean island, fled their hotels.
"We saw the explosion from the hotel. There was a loud
roar," said Michela Favorito, who works in a hotel near Fico
Grande, on the east side of the island.
"We plugged our ears and after this a cloud of ash swept
over us. The whole sky is full of ash, a fairly large cloud,"
Fires were reported on the western side of the island and it
was not immediately clear if there were any injuries.
INGV expert Stefano Branca told Reuters there had been a
"paroxysmal eruption" on the island, when high-pressure magma
explodes from a shallow, underground reservoir.
"These are events of great intensity and quite rare," he said.
The island was the setting for a 1950 movie starring Ingrid
Bergman and, with other islands in the Aeolian archipelago, has
become a favourite location in recent decades for holiday homes
for the rich and famous.