Definitions for podestapoʊˈdɛs tə, ˌpoʊ dəˈstɑ
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
po•des•tapoʊˈdɛs tə, ˌpoʊ dəˈstɑ(n.)(pl.)-tas.
any of certain magistrates in Italy, as a chief magistrate in medieval towns and republics.
Origin of podesta:
1540–50; < It podestà power < L potestās power, command
one of the chief magistrates of the Italian republics in the Middle Ages
a mayor, alderman, or other magistrate, in some towns of Italy
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
the name given to the chief magistrate of an Italian town, with military as well as municipal authority; he was salaried, and annually elected to the office by the council, and had to give an account of his administration at the end of his term.