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He recognized an antipope, Victor, in opposition to the legitimate sovereign pontiff, Alexander III (1159), and destroyed Milan (1162), but was thoroughly defeated by the forces of the Lombard League at the battle of Legnano (1176) and compelled to agree to the peace of Constance (1183), by which the liberties of the Italian communes were secured. In the meantime Frederick marched through Tuscany hoping to capture Rome, however, he was forced to retreat, sacking the city of Benevento. Throughout the eleventh century, the free Italian communes had arisen, owing a nominal allegiance to the Empire as having succeeded to the power of ancient Rome and as being the sole source of law and right, but looking for support, politically as well as spiritually, to the papacy. Within the many cities where the Guelfs triumphed, the party became a conservative force, a property-owning group interested in maintaining the exile of the Ghibellines whose holdings had been confiscated. It is, however, clear that these names were merely adopted to designate parties that, in one form or another, had existed from the end of the 11 C. To understand the precise significance of these terms, one must consider the local politics and the special conditions of each individual state and town. Dante was among the supporters of the White Guelphs, and in 1302 was exiled when the Black Guelphs took control of Florence. [6] Those who were not connected to either side or who had no connections to either Guelphs or Ghibellines, considered both factions unworthy of support but were still affected by changes of power in their respective cities. A series of wars, for example, was fought from the mid-13th century through the early 14th century between Guelf-controlled Florence and its allies—Montepulciano, Bologna, and Orvieto—and its Ghibelline opponents—Pisa, Siena, Pistoia, and Arezzo. Thus, in Florence, a family quarrel between the Buondelmonti and the Amidei, in 1215, led traditionally to the introduction of “Guelph” and “Ghibelline” to mark off the two parties that henceforth kept the city divided, but the factions themselves had existed virtually since the death of the great Countess Mathilda of Tuscany (1115), a hundred years before, had left the republic at liberty to work out its own destinies. The Mayor of Florence established the headquarters of the reborn Guelph Party in the historic Palazzo di Parte Guelfa in the city. Frederick retreated and gathered another army but the resistance of Parma encouraged other cities to rebel and Frederick was powerless to do anything. Agnes, daughter of Henry IV and sister of Henry V, married Duke Frederick of Swabia. The defeat of Frederick’s grandson, Conradin, at the battle of Tagliacozzo (1268) followed by his judicial murder at Naples by the command of Charles, marks the end of the struggle and the overthrow of the German imperial power in Italy for two and a half centuries. The Welfs were said to have used the name as a rallying cry during the Siege of Weinsberg in 1140, in which the rival Hohenstaufens of Swabia (led by Conrad III of Germany) used "Wibellingen", the name of a castle today known as Waiblingen, as their cry; "Wibellingen" subsequently became Ghibellino … Since the coronation of Charlemagne (800), the relations of Church and State had been ill-defined, full of the seeds of future contentions, which afterwards bore fruit in the prolonged “War of Investitures”, begun by Pope Gregory VII and the Emperor Henry IV (1075), and brought to a close by Callistus II and Henry V (1122). Essentially the two sides were now fighting either against German influence (in the case of the Guelphs) or against the temporal power of the Pope (in the case of the Ghibellines). They also adopted peculiar customs such as wearing a feather on a particular side of their hats, or cutting fruit a particular way, according to their affiliation. Venice, which had aided Alexander III against Frederick I, owed no allegiance to the Western empire, and naturally stood apart. Fierce rivalries often split the dominant faction. ... please advise how to reach someone to sign documents from Italy. Thus the struggle ended in the complete triumph of the Guelphs. Copyright © Tuscany tourist information - Travel information for your trip to Tuscany Italy – what to see, where to stay. Although in the north the Ghibelline supremacy was checked by the victory of the Marquis Azzo d’Este over Ezzelino at Cassano on the Adda (1259), in Tuscany even Florence was lost to the Guelph cause by the bloody battle of Montaperti (4 Sept., 1260), celebrated in Dante’s poem. Includes a forum where you can discuss the Honorary Consulate.

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