Expert Scottish bladesmith takes on two Italian apprentices


By Oliver Farrimond

An Edinburgh swordmaker has taken on two Italian apprentices.

Paul MacDonald, of MacDonald Armouries, has employed Marco Danelli, 30, and Dario Batzella, 20, to keep on the age-old tradition.

The two men – both from Rome – hope to rekindle the ancient link between Scottish and Italian sword-making.

Mr Macdonald said: “There are no formal courses as such, so this is still the old traditional way of apprenticeship.

“There are very few sword-makers in Scotland, only a handful. It’s not quite a dying art, but it is a rare craft and important to keep alive.”

The tradition of Scottish-Italian swordmaking dates back to the 16th century, when legendary bladesmith Andrea Ferrara was a Highland household name.

Both apprentices will spend two years working at the armoury in Brunswick Street Lane, and they plan to support themselves by working part-time elsewhere while they learn their craft.