A few kilometers from Siena, in Tuscany, is an ancient building, closely linked to the myths and medieval legends, an evocative, mysterious and magical place: 
the Abbey of San Galgano.


Its origins date back to the XII century AD, 
and the history of the abbey is closely related to that of a saint: San Galgano.

Here’s the legend.
In 1180 the knight Galgano Guidotti from Chiusdino, tired of the war, came on the slopes of Montesiepi where he had a vision appeared to St. Michael the Archangel.  
It was not the first time that the knight lived a mystical experience, he had already made ​​prophetic dreams, 
carriers of messages.

So the man stopped his white horse, fell to the ground and thought of his dissolute life of a knight.
Just at that moment he decided to give up everything to become a hermit.

He took his sword, he decided that never again would use it against no one soul and planted it 
in a rock which stood on a hill.

The hilt arranged in that way seemed now to the form of the cross, then Galgano knelt and began to pray.
He made ​​a promise to God, he would never use his sword against anyone, and he would spend his life as a hermit, absorbed in prayer and in absolute humility.
Soon he was joined by some faithfuls who followed him and, at his death, began to worship him as a saint.

What about the sword in the stone?
The sword of St. Galgano surely is previous to that which is said in the Breton cycle, The Excalibur, which appears for the first time in the works of Robert de Baron just a few years later the life of our saint.


The writer, then, to tell the story of the future King Arthur may has just inspired to the story of the knight Galgano Guidotti from Chiusdino.

In fact, the name Galgano resembles that of the knight of the round table: Sir Gawain, also called Galvano.

It was really the story of San Galgano to inspire the stories of the Breton cycle dating from the twelfth century?

Some people think that Galgano is just a person made in fantasy, like King Arthur; 
but also it is said that he died at 33 years, 
as Jesus Christ.
33 are also the traditional Masonic degrees.

Yet the sword in the stone is there, right inside 
the circular church  and the amazing abbey, 
built soon after the death of the saint 
to venerate and remember his life.

In the same chapel, in a glass case, are the remains of the sacrilegious hands chopped off by a wolf to one of the three "black men" who, according to tradition, in 1181 destroyed the hut hermitage of San Galgano.

At the entrance of the church there’s a plaque bearing an inscription in Latin; at the bottom of this appears a cross. A similar cross is painted in red on the opposite side.

And that special kind of cross was one of the 
symbols adopted by the Knights Templar.
The famous alchemist Fulcanelli wrote that  
"the sword that opens the rock, the rod of Moses wich causes water to gush from the rock of Horeb, the scepter of the goddess Rhea, with whom she hit the mountain Dindimo, the javelin of Atalanta are a one and the same hieroglyph of this hidden matter of the Philosophers. "

In Malavalle, near Chiusdino, there’s a church in which are the remains of another hermit in the same age of San Galgano.

According to recent studies, it could estimate they appertain to King William X of Aquitaine that, in 1137, decided to leave everything in order to be a hermit in Tuscany.

In the church of St. Michael, again in Chiusdino, there is also a relic: a skull that local tradition identifies with that of San Galgano.



And if it was just William, who was also a skilled storyteller, to bring in Tuscany the legend of the sword in the stone?

Typical sweet of Siena

(Doses for two panforti)

150 g. sugar
150 g. honey
250 g. Almond
100g. Hazelnut
150 g. Nuts
200 g of candied citron
100g. candied orange
100g. candied cherries
100g. dried figs
3 glairs of eggs
8 g of cinnamon powder
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of ground ginger
a pinch of black pepper (optional)
wafers (as many as needed to cover the gingerbread)
a knob of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
100 g of powdered sugar


Melt sugar and honey in a saucepan over low heat, stir constantly with a wooden spoon.
Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix the finely chopped almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts along with the citron, orange, candied cherries, dried figs.
Add the glairs, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper (optional) and ginger.
Mix well all these ingredients .
When the sugar syrup and honey is a bit 'thickened, pour in the mixture and stir vigorously.
Take two cake tins, lining the bottoms with the hosts, passes a little bit of oil and flour on the edges and then pour the mixture ‘till half inches from the edge.
The dough should be well pressed with your hands, ‘till full every empty areas.
At the end bake it in a hot oven (150 degrees) for about 40 minutes.
Remove the panforte from the oven, let them cool on a wooden surface,
when they are cold dust the cakes with icing sugar.

If you want to introduce a variation
Use candied melon instead of citron and add cocoa and chilli.
You will have the black Panforte.
To keep the cakes, use transparent paper and or wax paper and put them in a cool, dry place.