In interesting progression we move from one of the most renowned writers of Italian literature, Dante, to Catherine of Siena, a laywoman from the Sienese popolo grasso
, (46) who sought only to serve God.
"I primi dieci anni del priorato." In Ghibellini, Guelfi e Popolo Grasso, eds.
"Dagli Ordinamenti di Giustizia alle lotte tra Bianchi e Neri." In Ghibellini, Guelfi, e Popolo Grasso, eds.
Yet had the palace acquired the firm, enthusiastic support of the popolo grasso -- the dominant class of businessmen and professionals -- who remained the center of power all through the turmoil, exploiting della Bella until he threatened to become more of a liability than an asset, one can well imagine that the breakthrough of the project would have occurred during the reform movement.
But, of course, the commercial perspective was not the only one from which the palace project might potentially be seen and judged (even by the popolo grasso).
 Although modern scholarship has tended to emphasize the commonality of outlook of magnati (old and new) and the popolo grasso, the overlap of their value structures was not complete.
As the party rivalry became the center of political action in the otherwise quiet late 1290s, the popolo grasso inevitably beca me deeply coinvolved.