Geographic Location

Name: Roma

Description: As the seat of the papacy and the administrative center of the Papal States, Rome was the geographical as well as the political focal point of Dante's Italy. Throughout the Middle Ages the papacy remained the focus of the ambitions of several urban and rural families of the Roman aristocracy. In 1143 the Roman people replaced local government by the pope with a commune, ruled by a Senate. Shortly after Charles I of Anjou initiated his campaign to conquer the Ghibelline Kingdom of Sicily in the 1266, he was elected Senator by the Roman Guelfs and crowned king of Sicily in Rome by several cardinal bishops. By the end of the century, the pro-Guelf Orsini were vying with the pro-Ghibelline Colonna for control of the city and papacy. The papacy still remained the sovereign power in the city at that time. During his pontificate (1294-1303), Boniface VIII worked assiduously to undermine any of the remaining power of the Colonna. Simultaneously, he was pursuing a hostile anti-imperialist policy. The political alliance between Pope Boniface VIII and the commune of Florence facilitated the expulsion of Dante from the city on the Arno in 1302.