When Florence was just beginning to find its independence in the 11th century, urban merchants formed a Societas Mercatorun, a sort of guild or fraternity, many of whose members in comne Florence (the ruling council of the city which was founded in 1115). With Societas time was replaced by Arte di Calimana, universal guild, which included most of the merchants and artisans. As the division was formed seven major occupations of large guilds. In 1289 Florence was founded 14 small guilds, which covered the mid-level craftsmen. Members of these guilds actually ruled Florence during the next 400 years. The elective system was organized as follows. Leaflets with the names of the selected members of the guild, which, according to guild members were able to administrative management, were placed in eight leather pouches, stored in the church of Santa Croce. Then, from these bags was pulled out at random nine leaflets with the names: six of the large number of guilds, two of the small number of guilds, and one for the post of leader or gonfaloniere.
These elected representatives, called Priors, formed the government, or the Signoria. It government functioned for a short period – two months. This period has been established in order to avoid corruption and usurpation of power. Power was limited to the various committees of the Signoria. It also takes into account opinion of an independent judge, who was named Podesta of Florence. This judge is usually invited from out of town and was an arbitrator in dispute resolution. In times of acute crises Signoria convene parliament or assembly, which consisted of all males under the age of 14 years. However, this system was also influenced. In practice, political groups or individual influential personality arranged matters so that only pleasing their candidates were elected to important administrative positions.