A Knight’s Tale Still Lives On

The legend of King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone has become a story steeped in myth and history all at once. Folktales of ancient lines of royalty being deemed worthy by a magical blade have entranced many for generations.

Located near the cross-country ski track of Terminillo, Italy– a winter resort infamous for being developed by Italian dictator Mussolini – the sword lies within a region called Cinque Confini (Five Borders). This is where the territories of Rieti, Micigliano, Castel Sant’Angelo, Borgovelino, and Cittaducale meet. It’s only about an hour’s drive from the city of Rome.

Local legend has it that five knights, part of the Knights Templar, left the sword here as they fled persecution. Led by Guy de la Roche, they’d carried the sword to the border of the Kingdom of Sicily and the papal states, the region now known as Terminillo, on the night of December 21, 1307, the winter solstice. In embedding the sword in the stone, he dissolved the order and freed them from their vows of the brotherhood.

The five knights went their separate ways, seeking shelter in villages and communities near the area. Part of the legend also claims the knights would meet at the same spot every Solstice Day, where their brotherhood had been dissolved.

As of August 2020, the sword has mysteriously disappeared. Only the bottom tip remains in the rock, indicating it was stolen. So, no new king to be announced as of yet.

It’s not known if the sword that went missing was the original or a replica that may have been set there at a later date. But the locals kept the legend alive with a plaque inscribed with Roche’s final words:

“In Nomine Iesu Omnipotentis”

There are several variations of this phrase, but a rough translation could read, “In the name of Jesus, amen.”
Journey to Rome and find your way to Terminillo on our “7-Night Bucket List Mediterranean” and “7-Night Iconic Greece and Italy” luxe-adventure voyages.

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