A small earthquake struck northern Italy on Wednesday, surprising people travelling to work, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.

The 4.9-magnitude quake hit at 0806 GMT about 33 kms underground near the north Italian city of Reggio Emilia, an official at the Italian Geophysics Institute (INGV) said.

The tremor, followed by smaller aftershocks, was also felt in Milan, Italy's financial capital, where many people were already at work.

We had just got into class when we felt some tremors. Some saucepans fell on the floor, a schoolboy at a school near the town of Parma told Reuters.

The Civil Protection Authority said in a statement that there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit the central Italian city of L'Aquila in 2009, killing nearly 300 people.

(Reporting by Michel Rose, Antonella Ciancio, Stefano Bernabei, Sara Rossi; Editing by Tim Pearce)