Mount Etna, Europe's tallest and most active volcano spewed out lava late on Tuesday in its latest spectacular eruption.

Sparks lit the night sky and a small stream of lava was flowing down the volcano into an uninhabited valley but there was no danger to villages lower down on the slopes, officials said.

The wind blew volcanic ash onto several villages and officials said the airport of Catania, a city at the base of the volcano, would be closed during the night as a precaution.

Etna erupts regularly but usually causes little damage to inhabited areas.