The period with which we are now dealing is the epoch of the despots, the signori, and in pursuit of expansion on the mainland Venice was brought into collision first with the Scaligeri of Verona, then with the Carraresi of Padua, and finally with the Visconti of Milan.
The Piazza dei Signori contains picturesque brick battlemented palaces - the Salone del Gran Consiglio (1184) and the Palazzo del Commune (1268).(1268).
In the Piazza dei Signori is the beautiful loggia called the Gran Guardia, begun in 1493 and finished in 1526, and close by is the Palazzo del Capitanio, the residence of the Venetian governors, with its great door, the work of Falconetto of Verona, 1532.
And the Piazza dei Signori, adjoining one another Squares in the oldest part of the city, are very picturesque and beautiful, being surrounded by many fine medieval buildings, several of them of a public character (Palazzo dei Giureconsulti, Palazzo della Ragione and the lofty Torre Civica, 273 ft.
If Pasubio went, the line south of the Posina was turned, and the Austrians had a new route to the plain by the Valli dei Signori, as well as the opening they were now making for, by the Lower Astico.
Long before the last stage, the rule of signori, was reached, however, the commune as originally constituted had everywhere undergone radical changes.
The early history of the family is involved in obscurity, but they are first heard of as lords of Farneto or Farnese, a castle near the lake of Bolsena, and they played an important part as consuls and signori of Orvieto.