Everyone connects “the sword in the stone” to the story of King Arthur and the Excalibur weapon. In Tuscany, Italy, there is still another sword carved into the stone. This sword, which was reportedly famous in the Middle Ages, was allegedly sunk into a rock by a saint rather than being taken out by a monarch.


a knight becomes a hermit

Galgano Guidotti’s birth in 1148 marks the beginning of the narrative. Guidotti, the vicious knight and uneducated son of a feudal lord, led a life of extravagance. But in 1180, he saw the Archangel Michael, who urged him to give up his former habits and start again.

In a subsequent dream, the Archangel sent him to the Montesiepi hill. Guidotti saw the 12 Apostles, who instructed him to live as a hermit, renounce his worldly goods, and construct a home to the glory of God.
Saint Galgano Guidotti.

In the vision, Guidotti warned the Apostles that it would be as difficult to split a rock with his sword as it would to do so, and then demonstrated his point by driving his sword into a nearby rock. Stone was sliced in half by his blade like butter.

When Guidotti awakened, he decided to live as a recluse after being appropriately disciplined. His relatives and friends believed he had become insane. Eventually, his mother convinced him to come out of his solitude and go meet the lady she wanted him to marry.

Guidotti’s horse abruptly altered course and went onto the hilltop he had seen in his vision when he was on his way to see his fiancé. This affected him so much that he pledged to erect a cross there. He didn’t have a crucifix with him, so he slashed at a nearby stone with his sword. The grip resembled a cross since the majority of the blade was concealed.

Guidotti remained a recluse for the rest of his brief life, devoted to God and the visions he had seen.

Italy's sword in the stone in the Montesiepi Chapel.

Saint Guidotti

Pope Lucius III canonised Guidotti in 1185, a year after his passing. The church enclosed the sword in Montesiepi Chapel to protect it. No one is certain of Guidotti’s specific location of burial, although the community believes it to be close to the stone.

Priests from the Montesiepi Chapel asked the University of Pavia’s experts to examine the blade in 2001. To put an end to rumours that the sword was fake, the priests sought to do so. The examination was directed by Luigi Garlaschelli, who discovered that the sword’s design was in line with those of weapons made in the late 12th century.

The blade has been yanked from the stone many times. A guy was able to extract a portion of the sword in the 1960s. The same thing was tried in 1991 by another individual. Both times, the priests used concrete to anchor the blade. Some people were made to believe that either the lower half of the sword did not exist or that it had been replaced with a fake since it was no longer the actual weapon.

However, the break line was a perfect fit and the lower half of the blade stayed in the rock when Garlaschelli withdrew the upper half of the sword. He gathered iron pieces and conducted a trace metal analysis on them, coming to the conclusion that the composition “is fully compatible with a mediaeval origin.”

Categorized in: