Tourists are now banned from the island of Vulcano due to the danger of toxic gases in the region. Britons who planned to visit will need to check with their travel company.
Stefania Lombardo told Italian paper la Repubblica: “One day I suddenly noticed that my 10 cats were lying on the floor as if they had passed out.
“And I wasn’t feeling well either, I had difficulty breathing. They told me it was just a panic attack, then the doctors confirmed that the cause for the sickness was the exhalation of gases from the crater.”
The mayor of Vulcano, Marco Giorgianni, said: “Data indicate an increase in gases that create strong concern because they can constitute a threat to public health.”
Last month, Marco Pistolesi, a volcanology professor at the University of Pisa said the increased temperatures and activity “has never been observed before”.
Officials have declared a state of crisis and a regional emergency, raising the threat level from yellow to orange.
The volcano on the island of Vulcano last erupted over 130 years ago in August 1888 and the eruption lasted for two years.
The Romans believed that the island was the chimney of their god of fire, Vulcan, hence its name.
The tiny volcanic island is about 25km north of the popular holiday destination Sicily and has around 1,000 residents.
Tourists visiting the island often climbed the volcanic crater, swam at volcanic beaches or kayaked the coast.
The black beaches at Porto di Ponente are very popular with tourists who often visit on day trips from Lipari.
British tourists are advised to follow the advice of local authorities or check with their travel company if they were due to travel to the region.
Britons are also advised to check the UK Government website for the latest updates and information on the situation in Vulcano.