"L'Europa è nata pellegrinando"
J. W. Goethe

"L'Europa è nata pellegrinando"
J. W. Goethe

Canterbury, First Step 2023


The journey has begun! And it got underway on 28 July from Canterbury, where in 990 Archbishop Sigerico set out on his journey towards Rome to receive the bishop’s pallium from the hands of the Pope, tracing in this way, stage by stage, the so-called Via Francigena which right here has its starting point.

Canterbury with the ancient walls that surround it, the streets and the historic monuments, is a town where you can still breathe a medieval atmosphere like in Chaucer’s time, and where the Pilgrim is not only welcome but is considered sacred, a real own “personality” to assist and encourage at the beginning of his journey from Great Britain to the continent, in the footsteps of Sigeric.

And for our team it was the same! In Canterbury we received an affectionate and warm welcome from the local civil and religious authorities, confirming once again the importance of proceeding “together” in our three-year pilgrimage among the European abbeys, whose final destination will be the Jubilee 2025 in Rome.

An individual and, at the same time, collective value that reinforces the fundamental principles outlined by Livia Pomodoro in conceiving this initiative. An initiative that also makes use of the support of the friends of the European Association of the Vie Francigene.

Start the journey

Canterbury, 28 July 2023: let’s go.

The day of Friday 28 July was marked, in the morning, by the official opening of the path of “in Cammino” by the President Livia Pomodoro who, from Canterbury Cathedral, went to the ruins of the Abbey of Sant’Agostino in the company of the Rev David Montheith – Dean of Canterbury – and Councilor Connie Nolan, Cabinet Member for Community, Culture, Safety and Employment.

“We are happy to begin our journey with the blessing of the Dean of Canterbury and to start from the origins of the Pilgrimage – said President Pomodoro during the opening ceremony of “In Cammino”. – We want our journey in Europe to be one of peace, of cultural diffusion and, above all, of attention to people”.

After the symbolic cutting of the ribbon at the Cathedral, the delegation went to the Tower House for the institutional meeting with the Mayor of Canterbury, Mrs Jean Butcher, Sheriff Tom Mellish and the director of service William Hicks and Connie Nolan.

The Pilgrimage: from the Middle Ages to today’s travellers.

The Pilgrimage: from the Middle Ages to today's travellers.

Cathedral Lodge Auditorium.

By Prof. Andrea Antonio Verardi, with Simonetta Solder.

The program of the celebratory day ended with the afternoon cultural event at the Cathedral Lodge Auditorium, where Professor Andrea Antonio Verardi and the actress Simonetta Solder declined the chosen word for this first stage of 2023: “Pilgrimage”. The theme was addressed according to the various historical and modern facets, building a learned and lively, pleasant and emotionally engaging performance, where the arguments were interspersed with images and music related to the theme.

“In the current English language – Professor Verardi explained in his speech – the term pilgrimage has two meanings. It designates both the journey for religious reasons towards some destination, and that for personal reasons, to pay homage or commemorate someone”.

Through a path built around the concepts and voices of travelers and pilgrims, between antiquity and the contemporary world, the conference illustrated the stages in the evolution of the term. A long story that led the word pilgrimage to initially indicate exclusively the journey by faith in the Middle Ages, to then take on new meanings in the modern era, through the important process of re-semanticization during Romanticism, also contemplating among the meanings the commemorative pilgrimage and the journey in search of oneself.

Ours is a journey that began in Canterbury and will continue, for the next stop in September, in the Chiaravalle Milanese Abbey.

"We want our path in Europe to be one of peace, of cultural diffusion and, above all, of attention to people”

Livia Pomodoro

"Pilgrimage changed people's way of life.
Walking together"

David Montheith – Decano di Canterbury