Legendary ‘Sword in the Stone’ Discovered in a Chapel, Italy: Fact Check

Picture that The Legendary 'Sword in the Stone' is Real, Discovered at Montesiepi Chapel in Italy
The Legendary 'Sword in the Stone' is Real, Discovered at Montesiepi Chapel in Italy


The legendary ‘Sword in the Stone’, often linked to King Arthur in England is Real, but it is Discovered at Montesiepi Chapel in Italy, and belongs to St. Galgano Guidotti.

Fact Check:

According to certain stories doing rounds online, the legendary ‘Sword in the Stone’, often linked to King Arthur in England does Exist in Real, but it is allegedly Discovered in Tuscany (Italy) at Montesiepi Chapel, and that it actually belongs to St. Galgano Guidotti. As detailed below, the claims as such are mixture of hoax and facts.

About the Legend of King Arthur and Sword in the Stone

According to medieval histories and romances, King Arthur is a legendary British leader who led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders between 5th and 6th centuries AD. It is a popular belief that a young orphan named Arthur obtained the British throne suddenly by pulling a Sword from a Stone, for it can only be done by the rightful king. This kind of heroic identity has been reciprocated in many poems, stories, television shows and it even made into the 1963 Disney movie “The Sword in the Stone”. However, modern historians dispute and debate the historical existence of King Arthur because the details of his story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention.

‘The Sword in the Stone’ in Italian Church?

In 2003 Italian academic Mario Moiraghi published a book titled “L’enigma di San Galgano: la spada nella roccia tra storia e mito,” (translating to “The Enigma of San Galgano: The sword in the stone between history and myth“), in which he compiles the history of the life of St. Galgano and suggests that the popular Arthurian legend of The Sword in the Stone in England is inspired from his real story in Italy. The sword is said to have been buried to the hilt in a stone after Galgano renounced war to become a hermit, and is preserved in the chapel of Montesiepi in Chiusdino, Tuscany. There’s also a legend saying anyone who tried to remove the sword from stone had their arms ripped out.

Who was St. Galgano?

The Italian academic Mario Moiraghi says Galgano Guidotti (1148-1181) was the son of an illiterate feudal lord. He says he was a trained Knight only concerned with worldly pleasures in his early life. He also became well known for his arrogance, selfishness and thirst for trouble. Then one day he allegedly had a vision in which the Archangel Michael invited him to change his life, and he became a hermit. Moiraghi says St. Galgano plunged his Sword into a Stone and it became a Cross; for it is a true symbol of the Christian life — the transformation of violence into love. His book also mentions Galgano Guidotti was canonized four years after his death. It mentions a chapel built around his sword in the stone, in 1189: the “Rotonda della Spada.”

After these allegations of St. Galgano’s sword in stone in Italian church from 12th century, some suggested it could be a recent fabrication. Mario Moiraghi brought in a team of scientists from the University of Pavia, Italy to study the sword in question. They confirmed the object dates from the 12th century. Their carbon-dating study published in Focus magazine also confirmed the two mummified hands in the same chapel at Montesiepi were from the 12th century. According to Luigi Garlaschelli from the University of Pavia, there’s a 2m by 1m cavity beneath the sword. It is thought to be a burial recess, possibly containing the knight’s (Galgano Guidotti) body.

From the aforementioned analogy between the St. Galgano’s Sword in Stone in Italian Chapel and that of Arthurian legend in England, there have been claims that the original sword in stone is not in England, but in Italy and it actually belongs to St. Galgano.

Hoax or Fact:

Mixture of Hoax and Facts.


Sword legend ‘came from Italy’
The Sword in the Stone at Montesiepi Chapel

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Prashanth Damarla