The town was independent in the 13th century, but in 1353, owing to the dissensions of the Salvucci (Ghibellines) and Ardinghelli (Guelphs), it fell into the hands of Florence.
In 1307 the city became a lordship for Giberto da Correggio, who laid the basis of its territorial power by conquering Reggio, Brescello and Gaustalla, and was made commander-in-chief of the Guelphs by Robert of Apulia.
Already in 1218, the Guelphs of Lombardy had resuscitated their old league, and had been defeated by the Ghibellines in a battle near Ghibello.
Here in the year 1300 new factions, subdividing the old Guelphs and Ghibellines under the names of Neri and Bianchi, had acquired such force that Boniface VIII., a violently Guelph pope, called in Charles of Valois to pacify the republic and undertake the charge of Italian affairs.
The period we have briefly traversed was immortalized by Dante in an epic which from one point of view might be called the poem of the Guelphs and Ghibellines.