Since the dawn of the second millennium the direct work of Italian ecclesiastics and saints appears preponderant in the development of the major religious, mystical and theological centers across the Alps. In the 11th-14th centuries this contribution is oriented almost exclusively towards the region of Western Europe (France, England, Rhineland), while following the progressive conquest of the East by Latin culture, the effect of the great political and missionary crusades, the he Italian religious emigration also conquered Eastern Europe, to spread over the last century, albeit with diminished intensity, to the whole civilized world.
According to USAERS, the wave of the Italian intellectual movement towards the West begins with the work of Lanfranco di Pavia and S. Anselmo d’Aosta in the Norman abbey of Bec and in the archbishopric of Canterbury. Prelates, pontiffs, Italian theologians make temporary stays in Cluny and Paris, vaulted temporary vaulted permanent; but they do not fail to visit other religious centers, especially in West Germany. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the Parisian university welcomed the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure di Bagnoregio, B. Ambrogio da Siena and other holy theologians and canonists, around whom there is a dense group of religious Italians, teachers and students, mostly belonging to the new Franciscan and Dominican orders. The teaching work of the Italian ecclesiastics continues intense in this period also in Spain,
With the great figures of S. Giacomo delle Marche and S. Giovanni Capistrano direct contacts between the Italian religious culture and the peoples of Eastern Europe and the Balkans began in the century. XV. Relations with Hungary and Austria were particularly intense during the growth of the Habsburg monarchy. From the century XVI to XIX the episcopal see of Graz, Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest are frequently occupied by distinguished Italian prelates; while Jesuits from the peninsula block the spread of the Reformation, and Franciscans try to affirm Latin culture in the Eastern Balkans. Saints (like Francesco di Paola and Leonardo da Brindisi), theologians (like Antonio Possevino and S. Roberto Bellarmino), prelates (like Enea Silvio Piccolomini), Italian bishops also appear in Spain, Portugal, France, Flanders, Germany and up to Poland and Russia. With the nationalization of religious culture in European states, the previously predominant contribution of the Italian clergy across the Alps decreases; while with the missions and scientific teaching, but also with the eeclesiastical magisterium, new outlets are created in the other continents, especially in North America.