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The story of King Arthur and his legendary sword Excalibur which he pulled out of a rock to prove his divine right to the throne is well known. But what is fiction to the British, is fact for Italians—for in a Tuscan abbey in Montesiepi, is a sword plunged into solid rock.

The sword, of which only the hilt and a few inches of the blade is visible, is now preserved at the abbey of San Galgano in the town of Montesiepi, 30 km from Siena. Legend has it, that the sword was driven into the rock by Galgano Guidotti, a 12th-century Tuscan nobleman, who after seeing a vision of the Archangel, renounced his life of violence and lust in favor of a pious hermitage, and was later made a saint.

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The sword of Galgano Guidotti, embedded in stone. Photo credit: lkonya / Shutterstock.com

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