(Italian: “people”) In the communes (city-states) of 13th-century Italy, a pressure group instituted to protect the interests of the commoners against the nobility. Until then noblemen had exclusively controlled the commune governments, and the popolo was the means by which wealthy merchants sought to extend their power. The popolo in Florence controlled the government 1250–60 and again after 1282. By the beginning of the 14th century, its elders formed the supreme executive of the commune.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on popolo, visit Britannica.com.

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