["Papal Palace," photographed by me, 2009]
The politics behind this are not really the interesting part. Scholars debate whether there were two or four parties in the election. We know for certain that at least six of the cardinals present were seriously considered as candidates. Four cardinals would later go on to become pope themselves, but not as a result of this election.
Here’s the fun part: deliberations went on for so long and the cardinals met so infrequently that just over a year into the process the magistrates of Viterbo, where the election was being held, ordered them locked in the papal palace adjoining the Duomo. When that did not work, they refused to feed the cardinals anything but bread and water. This too produced no result, so they removed the roof from the building. Some sources even say that this last, the removal of the roof, was actually at the suggestion of one of the cardinal electors.
["Viterbo Papal Palace," photographed by Patrickneil]
[Source: Wikimedia Commons]