In 1189, according to Shoefrantics, William of Sicily died and Frederick the emperor in 1190: Henry VI immediately turned to pick the now ripe Sicilian fruit. There was an anti-German party there, as there had been an anti-French one, at the time of the regent Margaret. Vivo was the spirit of independence, in Sicilians and Normans, now Sicilianized. And this party raised the Norman king Tancred, who came from a natural son of the great Ruggiero II. But in the kingdom and around the kingdom, it was all a flare-up of passions, of hatreds, of jealousies, held in check only by a strong king, provided with large and proper means of action, financial and military. During the reign of the two Guglielmi, the civil war had flared up several times. Party of the great and party of the king or, better, of the king’s officials: in short, feudal aristocracy and bureaucracy, that their historians had in Falcando di Palermo and in Romualdo Salerno. But, if Ruggiero had partisans, and he had them especially in the citizen elements in which aspirations for autonomy were resurrected; others, of the nobility, sided with Henry. Which, at first, was not very successful, and had to stop in Campania, after being crowned emperor, together with his wife Constance (1191). And Tancredi was able to work hard there: he made an understanding with the Guelphs of Germany; he approached the Eastern Empire by engaging his son with Princess Irene; he obtained an agreement with Pope Celestine III. And with the Gravina concordat, the pope invested Tancredi with the kingdom, Tancredi renounced the traditional ecclesiastical rights of the Sicilian monarchy. But the death of the king, in 1194, reopened the road to the south for Henry. And this time, with the help of the fleets of Pisa and Genoa, that road was beaten up to Palermo, within the same 1194. By now, the union of the two kingdoms of the peninsula, the old kingdom founded by the Lombards and now almost resolved into municipalities and large feuds, and the new kingdom born with the Normans, could be called a fait accompli. And it was a very far-reaching fact. The kingdom of Sicily, in the hands of those who already held the kingdom of Italy, meant new and greater and more own military, naval and financial resources, it meant traditions and state organization, not feudal but of centralized government; resources and traditions that could serve for a more vigorous affirmation also in the north, in the context of the old kingdom: how they actually served, albeit not permanently, when Federico Ruggiero sat on the throne of Sicily, the son of Enrico and Costanza, fruit of the Norman-German union, born in Iesi the same year as the conquest of Sicily, raised and educated on the island, so much so that he could give his action the moral and political imprint of that Earth. Not only. But the possession of the kingdom of Sicily created the need not only to have effective dominion over the Po Valley and Tuscany, but also to control the lands of the donation. In fact, Enrico paid careful attention to central Italy – Tuscany and the lands of the Church -; he kept there his vicars and officials directly dependent on him; he strengthened, also by virtue of the Sicilian example, that bureaucratic system that his father had already started there. That is to say that, only by having some firm base in Italy, could the whole of Italy be dominated; that this firm base could have been constituted by the kingdom of Sicily;
For the moment, however, the events did not turn propitious for the Swabians and their purposes. Enrico died (1197), leaving many Germans who came to Italy with him and for him in Sicily, Tuscany, in the nearby lands of the donation. But the Sicilians rose up and fought them. Constance, who seconded the anti-German party, renounced the German crown for the child and had him crowned king of Sicily, with the papal investiture of the kingdom as a hereditary title. Moreover, being close to death, he wished that the pope, Innocent III, recently elected, would assume the protection of the child and heir as high lord of the kingdom. Also in central Italy there was a revolt of the city and of some feudal lords against Germans, representatives of the German empire. A league of municipalities in the Marche was formed; a league of Tuscan municipalities, close to S. Genesio, which was headed by Florence: while the imperial Pisa remained outside. The antagonism between the two municipalities began. Pisa, an expansive city, with Mediterranean interests that could greatly benefit from imperial support, followed the Ghibellyrian flag; Florence, which had already made common cause with the Canossa family against the empire, and was now ascending to power, gave a damn about the opposition to the empire itself.
The pope, of these leagues, as well as more than that of Lombardy thirty years earlier, was a solicitous promoter and supporter. Once the ancient aspiration of emperors and kings of Italy to absorb the South became a reality, their relations with the pope, now inevitably centered on this question, returned to being relations of war, latent or manifest. Indeed, papal politics concentrated on the effort to break this union. Once again Rome fostered that feeling of opposition of the Italians to foreigners which, now rich and ever more with new content, was elevating itself to national sentiment. Not only. But the pope turned to an energetic and methodical work of claiming and organizing the lands of the Church, as a means of better preventing intrusions from outside, creating a more valid protection around Rome.