The Day Football Stopped for UFOs in Florence (1954): Historical UFO Encounter

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The Day Football Stopped for UFOs in Florence (1954): Historical UFO Encounter


Image of the Football game in Florence 1954 and the UFO incident

About seventy years ago, a football match in Florence was interrupted when Unidentified Flying Objects hovered over the stadium.

It was October 27, 1954, a typical autumn day in Tuscany and at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, Fiorentina was playing against the local team Pistoiese. Ten thousand people were watching the match when suddenly, shortly after halftime, silence fell over the stadium. The spectators were no longer watching the game but were all pointing towards the sky.

The players stopped playing and the ball remained still on the grass. The footballer Ardico Magnini, who was somewhat of a legend in Italy at the time, playing for his country in the 1954 FIFA World Cup, recalls that day:

Image of Gigi Boni a Fiorentina supporter and footballer Ardico Magnini

“I remember everything, from A to Z. It was something like an egg, moving slowly, very slowly! Everyone was looking up and at the same time, a silver mist was falling from the sky. We were amazed, we had never seen anything like it before. We were shocked.”

The game was postponed. According to the referee’s report, because the spectators were seeing something in the sky.

Among the fans was Gigi Boni, a Fiorentina supporter. His description of multiple objects differs slightly from that of Magnini.

I vividly remember witnessing this event. They were moving very fast and then suddenly stopped. It all lasted a few minutes. I would describe them as Cuban cigars. They reminded me of Cuban cigars. I think it was something extraterrestrial. That’s what i believe. I can’t give myself any other explanation.

Another player, 70-year-old Romolo Tuci, agrees, saying:

Image of footballer Romolo Tuci from 1954 and Roberto Pinotti President of Italian UFO Center

“During those years, everyone was talking about aliens, everyone was talking about UFOs and we experienced this, we saw it, we saw it in reality.”

The incident at the stadium cannot simply be interpreted as mass hysteria. There were many UFO sightings in several cities beyond Tuscany that day and in the following days. According to eyewitnesses, a beam of white light appeared in the sky over Prato, north of Florence.

Another person who spoke about this incident is Roberto Pinotti, president of the Italian National UFO Center. He has written many books about UFOs and his house in the center of Florence is full of memorabilia, posters, old Italian films, framed newspaper articles, and black and white photos of flying discs. When the incident occurred, he was 10 years old and witnessed the event.

“The players and the fans were impressed seeing those objects above the stadium. During that period, newspapers were talking about aliens from Mars.

Of course, now we know it’s not like that, but we can conclude that it was an intelligent phenomenon, a technological phenomenon and a phenomenon that cannot be connected to anything we know on Earth.”

Pinotti also mentioned the strange silver dust that Magnini described:

Silhouette of a football stadium with glowing UFO hovering overhead, representing the historical encounter in Florence, 1954

“It is a fact that at the same time the UFO was above Florence, a strange, sticky substance fell from the sky. In English, this is called ‘angel hair.’ The only problem is that after some time, it disappeared. I remember seeing the roofs of houses covered with this white substance, like snow, for over an hour and then it simply evaporated. No one knows what connection this strange substance had with the UFO.”

Many described this substance as cotton or spider silk. It was difficult to collect because it evaporated upon contact. However, many people were determined to find out what it was. One of them was Giorgio Batini, a journalist for the Florence newspaper “La Nazione.” In 2003, he reported on the TV show Voyager how he received hundreds of calls that day about the sighting. From the offices of La Nazione in the city center, the view towards the sky stopped at the Cathedral, so he climbed to the roof of the building to see for himself what everyone was describing. Today, the 81-year-old journalist recalls seeing the ‘shining balls’ flying quickly towards the dome of the Cathedral.

Image of a newspaper from Florence 1954 depicting UFOs with football players looking skyward

Batini was determined to investigate this phenomenon. He found a stick in the city covered in white fluff. He collected various samples of the substance by throwing them into a matchbox and took them to the Chemical Analysis Institute of the University of Florence. When he arrived, he saw that others had done the same.

The laboratory, led by scientist Prof. Giovanni Canneri, subjected the material to spectral analysis and concluded that it contained boron, silicon, calcium and magnesium and that it was not radioactive. Unfortunately, this did not provide a definitive answer – and the material was destroyed in the process.

This day remains a mystery and those who were there are convinced that what they saw did not resemble anything earthly. Romolo Tuci feels lucky to have been there. Let’s end with a sentence from him that says it all and as soon as he said it, the footballer’s eyes sparkled with excitement:

I was enchanted and at the same time so happy.

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