Expert Scottish bladesmith takes on two Italian apprentices

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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.

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