Medieval Pilgrimage and Modern Europe

Omnes viae romam perducunt, the adagium of pilgrims of the Via Francigena. Photo: Wikipedia.

Pilgrimages were important aspects of life during medieval times, actually until the protestant reformation of the sixteenth century. Three major routes existed. The Way of St James to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The route to Santiago de Compostela is still packed with pilgrims, young and old, men and women, European, American, Japanese or Asiatic, the whole world en route to the relics of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Many routes in many countries lead to the final destination. Geoffrey Chaucer’s stories of 14th-Century pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales even strengthened the international journey of religious devotion.

Canterbury, however, is also the starting point of another, less known ancient pilgrimage, the Via Francigena. The 1,944 km route was founded by the Archbishop of Canterbury Sigeric in the tenth century. He travelled from Canterbury to Rome and documented his journey. His writings give a detailed and unique account of his voyage.  (source: