With a long history as a vantage point for anti-popes forces threatening Rome,Viterbo became a papal city in 1243. During the later thirteenth century, the ancient Italian city of Viterbo was the site of five papal elections and the residence of seven popes and their Curias, and it remains the location of four papal tombs. These popes resided in the Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo alongside the Viterbo Cathedral intermittently for two decades, from 1257 to 1281; as a result, the papal palace in Viterbo, with that in Orvieto, are the most extensive thirteenth-century papal palaces to have survived.
Shifting political and economic alliances pushed and pulled various popes of that century from Rome, taking refuge in other, not invariably hospitable, Italian city-states like Perugia and Orvieto. The primary cleavage in these divisions was between the Angevin and Hohenstaufen claimants to the title of Holy Roman Emperor, whom the pope could crown.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia article on Viterbo, "during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the city several times afforded the popes an asylum."Pope Paschal II (1099–1118) was brought to Viterbo as a prisoner in 1111, and when Pope Adrian IV (1154–1159) met with Frederick Barbarossa in the city in 1155, the city was firmly in the Emperor's hands
Antipopes Paschal III (1164–1168) and Callixtus III (1168–1178) took shelter in Viterbo, where the nobility had Ghibelline loyalties, but—according to the Catholic Encyclopedia—much of the populace remained loyal to Pope Alexander III.Viterbo rebelled against the Emperor after the peace between pope and Emperor was concluded.
Pope Innocent III (1198–1216) issued a papal bull from Viterbo in 1214.Viterbo remained loyal to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, and refused to admit Pope Gregory IX in 1232. A series of sieges brought the city back and forth between Guelf and Ghibelline loyalty.
Viterbo was the residence of five popes who died there:
Two other popes temporarily resided in Viterbo for a time but moved elsewhere before their death:
Viterbo was the site of five papal elections:
None of these conformed to the formality of the papal conclave, although several were instrumental in the development of the norms of the conclave.
Pope Alexander IV was elected in Naples in December 1254. He inherited his predecessor's allegiance to the Hohenstaufen claimants to the Holy Roman Empire but quickly turned against them. Because of the strength of the Ghibelline faction in Rome, he withdrew to Viterbo in 1257 until his death in 1261. Alexander IV began enlarging the bishop's residence by the cathedral, and the Papal Palace was completed probably in 1266.
Alexander IV's successor, Pope Urban IV, returned to Viterbo from the Crusades and was present there when Alexander IV died. A non-cardinal, Urban IV moved to Perugia upon his election, where he died. Urban IV spent the winter and spring of 1261–1262 in Viterbo.
Urban IV's successor, Pope Clement IV, was elected in Perugia, but established himself in Viterbo, where he remained until his death. Clement IV established permanent residence in Viterbo in 1266.He did not even return to Rome for the crowning of Charles of Anjou as the Holy Roman Emperor by the College of Cardinals.
The election after Clement IV's death, in Viterbo, lasted three years. Pope Gregory X, a non-cardinal away on the Crusades, was finally elected. Gregory X returned to Rome, and died in Arezzo, while returning from the Second Council of Lyon. in France. His successor, Pope Innocent V also resided in Rome.
Pope Adrian V was pope for a little over a month, and accomplished little other than dying in Viterbo before even being ordained a priest. His Portuguese successor, Pope John XXI remained in Viterbo. John XXI expanded the papal palace in Viterbo, and died when a section of the roof collapsed on him.
The next pope, Pope Nicholas III, although from the powerful Roman Orsini family, also died in Viterbo in 1280. During the ensuing election, the magistrates of Viterbo threw two Orsini cardinals into prison.By the time his successor, Pope Martin IV, was elected, Viterbo had been placed under interdict, and because the French pope was resented in Rome, he was crowned in Orvieto. The influence of Viterbo on the papacy declined after Martin IV's death in Perugia in 1285.
Pope Pius II was in Viterbo in 1462 to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi.
The palace at Viterbo had been the residence of the Bishop of Viterbo until the 1250s.Alexander IV (1254–1261) enlarged the palace for use as a papal residence. A large three-storied addition was completed in 1266, during the reign of Clement IV (1264–1268). The palace was redecorated in the 1290s, and some of the new additions bear the Caetani coat-of-arms of Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303). According to Prof. Radke, although Boniface VIII never even visited Viterbo during his papacy, "the papal arms indicate that the structure had not completely lost its papal associations."
According to Prof. Radke, "the papal palaces in Viterbo and Orvieto are the most extensive thirteenth-century papal palaces to survive to our own day."Radke dates a series of frescoes in the palace to its enlargement during the residence of Clement IV (1264–1268).
Four popes were buried in Viterbo:
Nicholas III, from the powerful Roman Orsini family, was returned to Old St. Peter's Basilica for burial.
Pope Honorius IV, born Giacomo Savelli, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 2 April 1285 to his death in 1287. During his pontificate he largely continued to pursue the pro-French political policy of his predecessor, Martin IV.
Pope Martin IV, born Simon de Brion, was the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 22 February 1281 to his death. He was the last French pope to have held court in Rome; all subsequent French popes held court in Avignon.
Pope Clement IV, born Gui Foucois and also known as Guy le Gros, was bishop of Le Puy (1257–1260), archbishop of Narbonne (1259–1261), cardinal of Sabina (1261–1265), and bishop of Rome from 5 February 1265 until his death. His election as pope occurred at a conclave held at Perugia that lasted four months while cardinals argued over whether to call in Charles I of Anjou, the youngest brother of Louis IX of France, to carry on the papal war against the Hohenstaufens. Pope Clement was a patron of Thomas Aquinas and of Roger Bacon, encouraging Bacon in the writing of his Opus Majus, which included important treatises on optics and the scientific method.
The 1260s is the decade starting January 1, 1260 and ending December 31, 1269.
Pope Nicholas III, born Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 25 November 1277 to his death.
Viterbo is an ancient city and comune in the Lazio region of central Italy, the capital of the province of Viterbo.
Orvieto is a city and comune in the Province of Terni, southwestern Umbria, Italy situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff. The city rises dramatically above the almost-vertical faces of tuff cliffs that are completed by defensive walls built of the same stone, called tufa.
Palazzo dei Papi is a palace in Viterbo, northern Latium, Italy. It is one of the most important monuments in the city, situated alongside the Duomo di Viterbo. The Papal Curia was removed to Viterbo in 1257 by Alexander IV, due to the hostility of the Roman commune and constant urban violence: the former bishop's palace of Viterbo was enlarged to provide the Popes with an adequate residence. The construction, commissioned by the Capitano del popolo Raniero Gatti, provided a great audience hall communicating with a loggia raised on a barrel vault above the city street. It was completed probably around 1266.
The papal election of 1268–71, following the death of Pope Clement IV, was the longest papal election in the history of the Catholic Church. This was due primarily to political infighting between the cardinals. The election of Teobaldo Visconti as Pope Gregory X was the first example of a papal election by "compromise", that is, by the appointment of a committee of six cardinals agreed to by the other remaining ten. The election occurred more than a year after the magistrates of Viterbo locked the cardinals in, reduced their rations to bread and water, and removed the roof of the Palazzo dei Papi di Viterbo.
Latino Malabranca Orsini was a Roman noble, an Italian cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, and nephew of Pope Nicholas III.
The papal election of 1285, convened in Viterbo after the death of Pope Martin IV, elected Cardinal Giacomo Savelli, who took the name of Honorius IV. Because of the suspension of the Constitution Ubi periculum by Adrian V in 1276, this election was technically, perhaps, not a papal conclave. In fact, for the first time since the tedious Election of 1268–1271, the meetings were dominated neither by the Hohenstaufen nor Charles I of Naples. It may even be that the cardinals proceeded so swiftly to an election with the intention of forestalling any intervention from Naples.
The papal election of 1280–81 elected Simon de Brion, who took the name Pope Martin IV, as the successor to Pope Nicholas III.
Orvieto, Umbria, Italy, was the refuge of five popes during the 13th century: Urban IV (1261–1264), Gregory X (1271–1276), Martin IV (1281–1285), Nicholas IV (1288–1292) and Boniface VIII (1294–1303). During this time, the popes took up residence in the Papal Palace of Orvieto, which was adjacent to the Orvieto Cathedral and expanded onto the bishop's residence. None of these popes died in Orvieto, and thus no papal elections took place in there, nor are there any papal tombs.
Perugia was a long-time papal residence during the 13th century. Five popes were elected here: Pope Honorius III (1216–1227), Pope Clement IV (1265–1268), Pope Honorius IV (1285–1287), Pope Celestine V (1294), and Pope Clement V (1305–1314). These elections took place in the Palazzo delle Canoniche adjoining the Perugia Cathedral.
The papal election of 1264–65 was convened after the death of Pope Urban IV and ended by electing his successor Pope Clement IV. It met in Perugia, where Urban IV had taken refuge after being driven out of Orvieto. He had never been in Rome as Pope, but spent his entire reign in exile. It was the second election in a row where a pope was elected in absentia; the phenomenon would be repeated in the Conclave of 1268–1271, and again in the Conclave of 1292–1294. In the last two cases, the person elected was not even a Cardinal.
Matteo Rosso Orsini, was a Roman aristocrat, politician, diplomat, and Roman Catholic Cardinal. He was the nephew of Pope Nicholas III (1277-1280).
Uberto Coconati, a Roman Catholic Cardinal, was born at Asti in the Piedmont region of Italy, a member of the family of the Counts of Cocconato, who were vassals of the Marchese di Monferrato. Thierry de Vaucouleurs calls him "Lombardus nomine, stirpe potens". Uberto had a brother named Manuel (Emmanuele). Two of his relatives became Bishop of Asti. He was not connected with the d'Elci of Siena.
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Guillaume de Bray was a French ecclesiastic and Roman Catholic Cardinal.
Simone Paltanieri, son of Pesce Paltanieri, member of a distinguished family, was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal.