ROME (Reuters) - The mayor of the Italian island of Vulcano, off the northern coast of Sicily, has ordered a partial night evacuation of an area close to the harbour due to worries over potentially dangerous gases from volcanic activity.
The order, effective from Monday and valid for the next month, means some 300 residents will not be allowed to sleep in their homes between 11 p.m. (2200 GMT) and 6 a.m.
Tourism will also be banned on the island, which is part of the Aeolian archipelago.
"The unconsciousness of sleep would not allow them to detect the risks," mayor Marco Giorgianni told Reuters, adding that evacuees would be accommodated elsewhere on the island.
In a report last week, Italy's National Institute for Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said the level of carbon dioxide was "abnormally high" around the crater of the volcano, which last erupted from 1888 to 1890.
Local media reported several families had already left their houses late in October due to the gases, after the civil protection agency issued an alert on "significant" alterations in volcanic parameters.
The municipality will provide grants to help those forced to find another place to stay, but life on the island will carry on as usual during the day, Giorgianni said.
Angela Borgia, who runs a restaurant in the harbour area, said that while islanders were concerned about the gases, it would be difficult to move the elderly and sick for the night.
"We also understand that it is for our own safety and we accept it," she told Reuters.
(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Catherine Evans)