01-01-2001 Update: It turns out we got a bunch of the details wrong (blame my crappy Italian). You can read the story behind San Galgano at http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4258097,00.html. The sword has been authenticated as being from the twelfth century, which is when San Galgano put the sword into the stone (1180 AD). I'm glad to hear they've authenticated yet another miracle.
San Galgano was a saint who was (before becoming a saint) always going to war. And then one day he got fed up with war, and to symbolize his resolve he plunged his sword into the solid earth. This is one of his miracles. Since you need at least 3 miracles to qualify for sainthood, he did at least two other things, but they didn't tell us what they were, and I forgot to ask. Sometimes they're pretty silly miracles, like with Saint Anthony showing the money lender his heart was physically in his money box, or something. I can imagine walking around San Galgano's farm, the plow is stuck into the ground, the cart is half out of a cliff, Mrs. San Galgano yelling at him to quit fooling around and pull the butcher knife out of the back porch.
This is a close-up of the sword. It's very amazing, even though I personally doubt the veracity of the miracle. I was checking it out trying to figure out how it got into the stone, and you can't tell anything. It really looks like a natural part of the rock, and it's very impressive. There's just no marks or anything that the rock was drilled, or the sword was hammered, it looks just like it would if he had plunged it into the rock. It's actually pretty cool, and it's 700 years old. I would love to see an X-Ray of it, though.
These are some bones at the church near San Galgano. The story is, someone burned down San Galgano's house. And a wolf hunted down the person who committed the arson and bit their hands off.
This is the church of San Galgano from a distance. The countryside here is just incredible. Tuscany is unlike anything the United States has to offer.
This is the ceiling of the church on the hill next to San Galgano. It's very unique, and reminds me of the honey-comb graves that are in Greece, at the ruins of Myacenae. The sword in the stone is directly underneath this ceiling.