Other pilgrimage routes to Rome

All road leads to Rome is not just an old saying. There are historic pilgrim routes to the Eternal City starting from a range of different places across Europe.  Pilgrims from the Iberian Peninsula, for example, would have followed the coast through southern France, while those from other parts of France would have crossed the Alps not by the Grand St Bernard but by the Montcenis or Montgenèvre passes. The Germans, and those from further afield, would have taken the Brenner or Sankt Gothard passes into Italy, while others made their way overland to Venice and from there to Rome. There were other routes, too, taken by pilgrims approaching the Eternal City from the south, some of which are being re-established today. There was thus a whole network of routes to Rome and the journey began, at least until the twentieth century, from each and every pilgrim’s own front door.

Today, while many people make their way to Canterbury in order to start from there, a significant number still set out for Rome from their homes. Others join the Via Francigena at strategic points such as Besançon, Lausanne, the Grand St Bernard and Aosta.

Some of the alternative routes

Santiago to Rome

This is a challenging 2,500 kilometre trail linking Europe’s most popular pilgrim shrine with the Eternal City.


Assisi to Rome

The St Francis Way, or Via Francigena di San Francesco, is a 250 kilometre walking trail from Assisi to Rome.


Rome to Brindisi

This is an 800-kilometre haphazardly waymarked route for pilgrims continuing from Rome to Jerusalem and also for those seeking to walk to Rome from the Adriatic.