Mayors of towns in the area near the Apennine Mountains known as Mugello say there were no injuries from Monday’s pre-dawn tremor.

Italian news agency ANSA said a 17th-century church in the town of Barberino suffered some damage, while minor damage was reported to some houses.

State radio said the quake was strongly felt in Florence.

The national geophysics agency INGV reported the magnitude 4.5 quake hit at 4:37 am after a series of smaller tremors.

The epicentre was 4 kilometres north of the town of Scarperia.

Residents fled their buildings in the rain, congregating outside or in cars to await authorities.

State railways said the high-speed train line between Florence and Bologna was temporarily closed on Monday morning as a precaution.

State radio said train service on the line later resumed.

Meanwhile, schools in the region were ordered closed as a precaution.

Geologists noted that, 100 years ago, a quake 1000 times more powerful struck the same area, killing about 100 people.