The Name of the Rose takes place in the year 1327, in Italy. The time in which this took place when religion ruled the land, but there were always differences. In this case we see the difference in two different religious factions,the Italians who believe in the vow of poverty, and the French who want to continue the practice of indulgence.
Picture the different histories of religious figures of their times such as Pope John XXII (1249 - December 4, 1334), Jacques Duèze (or d'Euse), who was pope from 1316 to 1334. From these history figures comes great turmoil. Pope John created a constitution concerning the taxae sacrae poenitentiariae. Pope John opposed Louis IV of Bavaria, as emperor who then turned around and invaded Italy. In his invasion of Italy and in opposition, Louis set up an anti-pope. This new anti-pope Nicholas V. exploited the sins of the religious in order to squeeze out more money by creating the indulgence. The new Pope even consisdred the Franciscan's hertics because they did not follow his new rules.
So we can see what William and Adso face in this time as many changes are happening.