In his autobiographical novel “New Life” (published around 1293), the well-known Italian poet Dante Alighieri defines three groups of pilgrims: “They are called palmieri who go overseas, where they often bring back the palm; they are called peregrini who go to the shrine in Galicia, for the tomb of St. James is the farthest from his homeland than is that of any other apostle; they are called romei who go to Rome.”
These three definitions refer to the three outstanding sites of medieval pilgrimages: Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Santiago de Compostela in Spain and Rome. The different routes to these places as well as to various other sites of pilgrimage run across Europe and have always facilitated the continent’s exchange of religious and cultural values.
Even today, these sites and pilgrimage routes have not become less important - on the contrary: the people’s desire to experience being “on the way” keeps growing.
(c) Deutscher Verein vom Heiligen Lande - 2009 firstname.lastname@example.org