In the 12th and 13th centuries, despite the obscurantist idea that Romanticism spread, the Middle Ages had its greatest splendour, coinciding with profound social, political, cultural and religious transformations. These centuries largely herald the new times that lie ahead in the Renaissance, especially anticipated in Italy. This is the time when, facing the feudal power, processes of state centralisation begin to be undertaken. This, together with more effective methods of agricultural production, had a decisive influence on different ways of economic relations: the bourgeoisie appears with commerce as a distinct, active and enterprising social class that, facing a feudal economy based on exchange, uses money and banking activities as mechanisms to generate wealth. At this time the bill of exchange appears. The bourgeoisie, grouped in guilds, associations or arts to defend their interests, begins to play a leading role in the political life of the city.


Keywords: Saint Francis; Middle Ages; Fourth Council of Lateran.