In his Geographical, Physical, Historical Dictionary of Tuscany, Emanuele Repetti wrote that the Gonfolina was eroded by the constant flow of water and that humans had nothing to do with shaping it. In addition to the stories of Ercole and Romans, there are many popular legends tied to this place: it’s said that the stonecutters who attempted to hammer away at the boulder broke their tools against it, which they claimed was as hard as metal.
Even the Germans, during World War II, weren’t able to blow up the boulder with their explosives. Some say that the place is also inhabited by sprite-like fairies, which is where it gets its alternative name, Masso delle Fate, fate meaning “fairies,” and is possibly where Castruccio Castracani buried the golden hen. The road leading to Empoli that passes right by the boulder is more recent. Running along the left bank of the Arno, it was made suitable for carts under Grand Duke Leopold II sometime in the late 18th century. The road used to be known as the strada militare pisana and passed by the castle in Malmantile.