The tourist attraction was covered in ash, witnesses and local officials reported after the volcano oozed searing hot magma across the slope.
“We saw the explosion from the hotel. There was a loud roar,” Michela Favorito, who works in a hotel near Fico Grande, on the east side of the island said, adding that people present "plugged our ears and after this, a cloud of ash swept over us. The whole sky is full of ash, a fairly large cloud.”
The deceased person is believed to have been a tourist, killed by falling stones while on a walk, a rescue service official said, adding that a second person was also injured. Tourists often climb to the 924-meter (3,000-foot) summit of the volcano and peer into its crater, with small puffs of molten rock regularly blasted into the sky.
The unexpected eruption started fires on the western side of the small Mediterranean island, which lies north of Sicily, off the southern tip of Italy. Fire crews were called in from nearby locations, as a Canadair firefighting plane was already in action.
These are events of great intensity and quite rare,” an expert with the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV), Stefano Branca told Reuters.
According to the geology.com website, Stromboli is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet and has been erupting almost continuously since 1932.