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Earthquake felt across northern Italy

View of the Arno river in Pisa on November 29, 2012
View of the Arno river in Pisa on November 29, 2012. A 5.2-magnitude earthquake hit Tuscany on Friday, Italy's civil protection agency said, and was felt across northern Italy, from Milan, to Venice, Bologna and Florence, Italian media reports said.

A 5.2-magnitude earthquake hit Tuscany on Friday and was felt across northern Italy from Bologna to Florence, the civil protection agency said, adding that no serious injuries had been reported.

"We are checking to see whether any damage has been caused," a civil protection spokeswoman told AFP, adding that the quake struck at a depth of around 5.0 kilometres (3.1 miles).

The quake hit 2.0 kilometres from the walled city of Fivizzano in the province of Massa and Carrara in Tuscany, sparking panic among residents who rushed out of houses onto the streets.

Seismologist Marco Mucciarelli from the national experimental oceanographic and geophysics institute told SKY Italia television that tremors felt in Venice and across the top of Italy around the same time were not the same quake but aftershocks.

"There are likely more to come," he said, adding that there were "big problems with communication" in the towns and cities near the epicentre of the quake, slowing efforts to check damage caused.

The quake lasted just a few seconds, according to witnesses speaking to local journalists.

There were reports in the Italian media of damage to houses in Lunigiana in Tuscany, and several elderly people suffering from shock, but no reports of serious injuries or collapsed buildings.

In the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy's Equal Opportunities Minister Josepha Idem cut short a speech as the quake hit and the town hall she was in was evacuated.

Local trains across the region were interrupted but the fast train from Milan to Bologna was running without disruption, according to Italy's rail service.

Fear of earthquakes in the region is high after two powerful quakes wrecked homes and businesses in the neighbouring Emilia Romagna region in May 2012, killing 25 people.

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