The 1950s Italian UFO Explosion

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
October 1, 2018
Last Updated
November 14, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
6 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Waves

In between the extraterrestrial encounter of Bruno Facchini and the wave of UFO sightings throughout 1954 across the globe, an explosion of strange aerial activity occurred over the skies of Italy. While many of the sightings were the usual “lights in the sky” kind of incidents, some of them were of much closer encounters. And it is some of these “closer” encounters during Italy in the early-1950s that we are concerned with here.

A depiction of UFOs hovering over Italy

A depiction of UFOs hovering over Italy

While some of these sightings in the first half of the fifties were clearly very public and widely viewed incidents, it seems perfectly obvious that much more interaction between these strange visitors and the local population was taking place. And, as we will look at a little later, some of the encounters would result in physical evidence left behind. In short, this period in history, in this particular location would appear to be one of overall importance to the UFO and alien question.

The Carlo Russi Encounter

One of the first notable UFO encounters in Italy in the early-1950s was that of Carlo Russi, who at 3 am on the 25th July 1952, in San Pietro a Vico, made his way to the River Serchio to fish. [1] Suddenly, a strange “gleam” caught his attention and, slowing his pace slightly, he made his way in its direction. As he came to the water’s edge he could clearly see a black disc-shaped object hovering only a short distance from the surface of the water.

As he watched, it appeared a black tube-like device stretched out to the river with water rushing through it, as if the object was “drawing it up”. On the disc’s underside, he could see five equidistant propellers, while on top sat three concentric cones.

Suddenly, in a porthole in one of the turrets connecting to the craft, a human face appeared. It appeared to stretch out an arm towards him, causing him to panic and jump over the ridge of the bank to safety. As he fell to the ground, he could see a “green ray” passing over him. Then, the object vanished “at frightful speed”.

The Bernina Pass Incident

Less than a week after Russi’s encounter on the morning of 31st July in the Bernina Mountains Giampiero Monguzzi and his wife suddenly noticed that there was literally no sound all around them. [2] It was as if someone had pressed a mute switch, even causing their voices to go unheard.

Close to panic at this most bizarre situation, they both suddenly noticed a “gigantic object” on the ground in front of them. It was saucer-shaper with a red antenna on the upper side. Already with his camera in hand, Monguzzi managed to take a photograph of the object. Then he saw the “man in a metallic diver’s suit” calmly walk around the craft inspecting it as he did. Monguzzi managed to take another picture before the strange figure vanished. Moments later, the craft began to take off, rising “like an elevator”. As soon as it had gone, all the sounds around them returned to normal. You can view Minguzzi’s picture below.

Picture showing an apparent UFO

Does this picture show a real UFO?


A picture showing an apparent UFO

Does this picture show a real UFO?

Several months later, at just after 9:30 am on the 16th November 1952 in Emilia Romagna, farmer, Nello Ferrai, was relieving himself in a quiet corner of his field when he suddenly became aware of a “copper-colored light” cast from above on the ground around him. He immediately looked upwards. Above him was a golden saucer-shaped crafted. On the underside and the top was a metal cylinder. From these structures was a “motor noise” and inside them, something appeared to be rotating.

Then, the two saucers separated revealing “three human forms” in “rubber overalls” and “transparent masks”. According to Ferrai, they said something like “Verren Fig Unch” before the saucers closed and the strange craft disappeared high into the sky.

The “Martian” At The Pugina Residence

Perhaps, though, some of the most intriguing encounters came towards the end of 1954. Shortly after midnight on the 18th October 1954, for example, stock cubes salesman, Renzo Pugina, [3] brought his car to a stop in the garage of the villa where he lived. As he did, he noticed a glow around the back of the property. He assumed it was the moon and thought no more about it making his way to the stairs that would take him to the main entrance. It was then he noticed the strange figure at the top of the steps in front of him.

It was around four feet tall and appeared to have it’s left-hand-side facing Pugina. He instantly knew it was a “Martian” – at least according to how some of the local newspapers reported the incident. The strange entity was quite obviously the source of the light as it glowed brilliantly in front of him, mostly from its head, as he watched in awe and bewilderment. Underneath the light, it appeared to have a strange armor-like skin and a helmet with a transparent visor-type front.

The top half of the body appeared to be wrapped in “luminous overalls” that had a strange scale-effect “like a fish”. Where its legs should have been was merely a “pipe”. Then, the creature began to slowly turn towards him. In its hand was a strange device, similar to a torch. The creature pointed the device towards him, immediately paralyzing him. He remained motionless for several moments before the strange hold on him weakened.

Pugina moved towards the strange creature who suddenly made a “buzzing” sound. He began to increase his pace, but it began to retreat turning around the corner of the villa. By the time Pugina reached the corner, the creature was gone.

Depiction of the Pugina Humanoid

Depiction of the Pugina Humanoid

Cosmic Communication In Latin

In early November, several weeks after the Pugina encounter, in Naples, 67-year-old “Vicenzo Dattilo” stood before the local convent when a “star” suddenly caught his attention. It was descending. Rapidly. And spinning as it did so. Around 300 feet above him, it came to a sudden stop. After several moments, it continued downwards, landing “smoothly and silently” slightly over fifty feet away.

Dattilo shielded his eyes due to the intense glow of the craft before it suddenly went out allowing him to see once more. In front of him was a large saucer-like craft. He would estimate it to be around thirty feet across with two domes in the middle – one on the top and one underneath. On the top dome stood two, thin antennae-like devices. Then, the bottom dome opened and a “small creature” emerged. As Dattilo watched in amazement he could see a second creature, still inside the lower dome.

The first entity came towards Dattilo. It raised an arm as if to say “do not move”. When it was around twenty feet away from him, the creature stopped. It stood around three feet high “with a transparent outfit” which appeared to shine a blue color.  The creature began uttering strange words which, at first, he didn’t understand. Then, suddenly, he realized the creature was speaking in Latin, which he was very familiar with.

Although the “conversation” was broken, the two managed to communicate. According to the creature, they were from Earth and their technology, and their craft, was “powered by enormously gigantic natural forces”. Although the creature did state their country of origin, Dattilo refused to name it. The creature turned and left after several minutes, re-entering the craft through the dome at the bottom. It then rose, leaving in the same manner it had descended.

Mass Sightings And Physical Evidence

We have examined briefly before the 1954 UFO sighting over Florence, in front of a packed football stadium (the Stadio Artemio Franchi) no less. The game was barely thirty minutes old when a sudden haunting hush broke out among the spectators and the players alike. Above them, was a huge oval-shaped craft slowly moving over the 10,000-plus people below. Furthermore, this incident would also result in the “silver glitter” raining down from above. This is better known in UFO circles as angel hair. Interestingly there are many documented cases of this strange “silver glitter” falling from the sky throughout history. Usually alongside descriptions of what modern-day researchers would term UFO activity.

Incidentally, another similar sighting took place only days after the Florence incident on 30th October. During mass at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, over one-hundred people witnessed two strange orbs dancing in the sky above them. As the amazed onlookers watched these two mysterious “dots” all noticed how silent the night was. One of the witnesses was diplomat, Dr. Alberto Perego.

A week later on 6th November, in the Tuscolano region of Rome, the strange dots appeared again. However, there wasn’t just two of them. According to Timothy Good’s report in ‘Above Top Secret’, “there were dozens of them”. The sighting occurred between 11 am and 1 pm, essentially at one of the busiest times of the day and were on display for hundreds of people. The orbs moved around at various speeds before spreading out and seemingly disappearing in different directions. Once again, several moments after, a strange shining substance drifted towards the ground. Another example of “angel hair” suggesting perhaps the same visitors as had been over Florence the previous week.

The short video below looks at the 1954 incident further.


1 July 25th, 1952, San Pietro A Vico, Lucca, Tuscany, Carlo Rossi, Ufologie
2 The Monguzzi case, My UFO Research
3 UFO-Cult / Renzo Pugina’s singular adventure, Mystery bUFO, November 2nd, 2013

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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  • ggooggo says:

    is the ufo real?

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