The noble family of the Scaliger (also Scaligeri, from de Scalis or della Scala) were Lords of Verona
Lords of Verona
The Lords of Verona ruled the city from 1260 until 19 October 1387 and for ten days in 1404. The lordship was created when Mastino I della Scala was raised to the rank of capitano del popolo from that of podestà...

. When Ezzelino III was elected podestà
Podestà is the name given to certain high officials in many Italian cities, since the later Middle Ages, mainly as Chief magistrate of a city state , but also as a local administrator, the representative of the Emperor.The term derives from the Latin word potestas, meaning power...

 of the commune in 1226, he was able to convert the office into a permanent lordship. Upon his death the Great Council elected as podestà Mastino I
Mastino I della Scala
Mastino I della Scala , born Leonardo or Leonardino, was an Italian condottiero, who founded the Scaliger house of Lords of Verona....

, who succeeded in converting the signoria (seigniory) into a family inheritance, governing at first with the acquiescence of the commune, then, when they failed to re-elect him in 1262, he effected a coup d'état and was acclaimed capitano del popolo ("people's captain"), at the head of the commune's troops.