Florence Italy 1954 Sightings

October 1954
1950's professional football players in Italy looking up to the sky.
1950's professional football players in Italy looking up to the sky.

A football game between Italian sides Fiorentina and Pistoiese in Florence, Italy was interrupted on October 27, 1954 by a most unusual occurrence - UFOs hovering over the field. It was witnessed by over 10,000 fans at the match and over other major sites in the city. According to Gigi Boni, who was an eyewitness to the event: "I remember clearly seeing this credible sight ... they were moving very fast and then they just stopped. It all lasted a couple of minutes. I would like to describe them as being like Cuban cigars. They just reminded me of Cuban cigars, in the way they looked." The event has been ascribed to naturally occurring phenomena, including the migration of large spider colonies, although chemical analysis of the remnants of organic material that occurred during the event does not support this.

On October 27, 1954, the Italian rival football clubs Fiorentina and Pistoiese had just begun the second half of the game when the sighting of UFOs over the arena halted the game mid-play.

Sketch made by Italian artist Silvio Neri to recreate the mass sighting at the football match.
Sketch made by Italian artist Silvio Neri to recreate the mass sighting at the football match.

The crowd became bizarrely silent, followed by a huge uproar which had nothing to do with play on the pitch, making the players take notice. All eyes were pointing to the sky as the footballers also took in the sight above them.

Ardico Magnini, a standout player for Fiorentina, recalls, "I remember everything from A to Z. It was something that looked like an egg that was moving slowly, slowly, slowly. Everyone was looking up and also there was some glitter coming down from the sky, silver glitter. We were astonished-we had never seen anything like it before. We were absolutely shocked."

An avid Fiorentina fan, Gigi Boni, was at the arena supporting his team. "I remember clearly seeing this incredible sight," he says. "They were moving very fast and then they just stopped. It all lasted a couple of minutes. I would like to describe them as being like Cuban cigars. They just reminded me of Cuban cigars, in the way they looked. I think they were extra-terrestrial. That's what I believe, and there's no other explanation I can give myself."

Romolo Tuci, the captain of the Pistoiese team, remembers the excitement of the day. "In those years, everybody was talking about aliens, everybody was talking UFOs and we had the experience, we saw them, we saw them directly, for real."

Mysterious
Mysterious "Angel Hair" substance found during the 1954 Florence UFO sighting.

At the time of the incident, sticky white material began to fall from the sky all over Florence. Mangnini referred to it as "silver glitter." Others described it as cobwebs or cotton wool. Although there was plenty of this substance spread throughout the city, it was difficult to gather as it disintegrated easily. However, some people were able to collect pieces for analysis.

A journalist, Giorgio Batini, who worked for the Florentine newspaper La Nazione, was able to successfully gather a sample. While at the office, Batini received hundreds of calls about the sightings all over the city. As his office window was blocked of a clear view, he went to the top of the building. From there, he saw fast-moving "shiny balls." Batini went outside to get a better look. With the use of a matchstick, he was able to collect multiple samples of the fluffy material by rolling it onto this tool. Then he made his way to the University of Florence's Institute of Chemical Analysis in hopes of getting it analyzed. Upon arrival, he found out that others had the same idea. Professor Giovanni Canneri was present and used a spectrographic analysis of the material. Canneri concluded that the substance was nonradioactive and was composed of the elements silicon, boron, magnesium, and calcium. However, this process also destroyed the substance.

The president of Italy's National UFO Centre, Roberto Pinotti, is well-versed in the events of the day. Pinotti explains, "The players and the public were stunned seeing these objects above the stadium. At the time, the newspapers spoke of aliens from Mars. Of course, now we know that is not so - but we may conclude that it was an intelligent phenomenon, a technological phenomenon and a phenomenon that cannot be linked with anything we know on Earth."

A man examines the mysterious substance found after the mass UFO sighting in Florence.
A man examines the mysterious substance found after the mass UFO sighting in Florence.
According to Pinotti, the substance that fell from the skies was "angel hair." He was ten years old at the time of the event and witnessed the material falling from above. "I remember, in broad daylight, seeing the roofs of the houses in Florence covered in this white substance for one hour and, like snow, it just evaporated."

Other people refute the idea of the substance being extraterrestrial. Some scientists believe the sticky material originated from migrating spiders.

In McGaha's view, the whole spectacle, "angel hair" and all, was nothing more than spiders that spin very thin webs used as a sail for migration. When light hits these creations, it can cause eerie-looking effects. The timing of the event also correlates to months in which spiders in the northern hemisphere migrate: September and October. During this movement, pieces of the webs will break off and fall to the surface. Nonetheless, Pinotti points out that the migrant spider theory does not corroborate the chemical analysis results. The silk from spider webs would contain nitrogen, calcium, hydrogen, and oxygen, which were not found present in the samples given by Batini and others.

Sixty years after the event, witnesses still recall the excitement and strange events of the day. They are certain that what they saw was something phenomenal.

References

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The Florentine: "Unexpected fans"
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Unbelievable Facts Florence UFO incident

Official Explanation

UFOs were flares dropped by the Italian Air Force conducting military exercises, and the silvery filaments from the sky were spider webs.

Counter Argument

Hundreds of witnesses believed it was extraterrestrial crafts.

Evidence

Eyewitness testimony. Fibrous material found near object, identified as spider webs.

Incident Map

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