Italian officials say a strong earthquake has shaken northern areas of the country causing minor damage and leaving at least nine people injured.

Officials say Wednesday's earthquake, which measured 5.2 on the Richter scale, was felt across the region, including in the city of Milan.

They say the quake was centered near Lake Garda, and was also felt in Genoa and Venice.  Authorities ordered several hospitals evacuated as a precaution.

Officials report that cracks appeared in the walls of several homes and that a few abandoned farmhouses collapsed.

Some information for this story provided by AFP and Reuters.