The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela became a tradition for several centuries. A large number of pilgrims from different parts of the world have traveled this route. In fact, experts believe that St. Francis of Assisi was one of them.

Saint Francis of Assisi: Who is he?

Francis of Assisi is a saint from Italy, son of a wealthy merchant who lived in strict poverty. He lived between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries and founded a Franciscan order. He also contributed to the founding of the order of Poor Clares, working alongside Clara of Assisi.

For this reason, he was canonized 2 years after he died and is currently considered a great figure of Catholicism. It is even believed that it is part of the accumulated history of the Camino de Santiago.

In the following, from Mundiplus, as one of the main companies to do the Camino de Santiago, we want to tell you a little more about its history.

What is the relationship between the Camino de Santiago and Francisco de Asís?

The relationship between the Camino de Santiago and Francisco de Asís is based on a written and oral tradition since the fourteenth century. The story tells that Francisco started the Camino from the Aragonese area, to later pass through Navarra (specifically Rocaforte).

That happened between May of the year 1213 and the month of November of the year 1215. That is, after Easter but prior to his attendance at the IV Lateran Council. There he left Bernardo di Quintavalle in the hermitage dedicated to Saint Bartholomew.

That building is still standing for the recent restoration work of the Town Hall, and the old Franciscan community. The members of said community inhabited the building until the confiscation of the XIX century.

The hermitage has its own legends, as well as other symbolic places for Catholics. One of the elements of one of those legends, the trunk or rod of Francisco, remains in the oratory. In this way, it is seen as a sign that links St. Francis of Assisi with the Camino de Santiago.

Traces of Francisco de Asís on the Camino de Santiago

The presence of St. Francis of Assisi in various parts of the Camino de Santiago it has left traces. These are perceived even today, making the journey of the Way from Santiago de Sarria to Santiago de Compostela.

Some are found in paintings, others in images made of stone and of some only traditions or legends remain. However, it is possible to find them in more than one city on the famous Camino de Santiago.

White hair

The nuns of the Cistercian order of Cañas had two oral traditions. One had to do with the place where Urraca López de Haro was buried. This abbess died in 1262 when she was 92 years old. The second tradition is based on the friendship existing between that Abbess and Francis of Assisi.

By 1898 excavations were made in which the tomb was found with carvings of those who attended the burial. On the list are two Franciscans who, according to the story told, St. Francis of Assisi commissioned to attend. In this way, he showed attention to the friendship he had with that woman.

Door Coroneria Cathedral Burgos

Camino de Santiago de Burgos to León

Gonzaga tells that St. Francis of Assisi had a meeting with the then King of Castile. That meeting, whose purpose was to present the rule of the Franciscan order, is represented in two cathedrals:

  • Burgos cathedral, where Francisco is in line for the presentation of his offering to Santo Fernando III. This scene is located at the door of Coronería.
  • While the other is in the Puerta de Poniente, in León. In this case, Francisco is in front of the King. The two scenes are located in the context of a Last Judgment.

On the other hand, despite the fact that there are no records to verify it, it is said that Villafranca has a living Franciscan tradition. Well, it is believed that Francisco was housed in the old Hospital de Señor Santiago (current Clarisas convent).

Santiago de Compostela

There are several traditions that are a reflection of the presence that St. Francis of Assisi on the Camino de Santiago.

It is said that the Saint Benedict Monastery he gave a piece of land to Francisco to establish his convent. In exchange, this man agreed to pay rent for a basket of fish each year. That tradition was preserved until the XNUMXth century.

But the strongest tradition was that of Cotolay Tit, who lived on Monte Pedroso. Speaking more specifically, he lived next to the San Paio hermitage.

The story goes that Cotolay welcomed Francisco and helped him build the convent. Therefore, it is not surprising that inside the hermitage of San Paio there was an image of San Francisco. That image dates from the XNUMXth century and it was considered a representation of the man who was seen in that place.

Rodrigo City Cathedral

Rodrigo City

Another of the traditions attributed to the presence of Saint Francis of Assisi on the Camino de Santiago is associated with that town. The testimony is surprising iconography in the Cathedral in Ciudad Rodrigo. In addition to the Franciscan scenes, there is a XNUMXth century image made of stone.

You can see it in vault number three. It characterizes San Francisco without a beard, barefoot and with a staff. The truth is appears as described by biographer Celano. Therefore, it is reported that this image was carved to remember that he passed through that city.


On the return of San Francisco de Asís to the north there are also several towns that have vestiges of his presence.

En Tudela It is reported that a family (the Veraiz) welcomed Francisco and promoted his presence in the place. Some local traditions indicate that his itinerary to return to Italy passed through the popular Jacobean path. What includes Torrelavega, Oviedo, Viveda, Santander, San Sebastián and Vitoria.

It must be clarified that there are other traditions that mark a different itinerary than the one detailed above. But some are more consistent than others, making it easier to rule out and spot the true possibilities.

The Franciscan Order inaugurated on January 17, 2014 the Franciscan Jubilee Year which commemorated the eighth anniversary of the pilgrimage of Saint Francis of Assisi to Santiago de Compostela.