Ugolino della Gherardesca (ōgōlēˈnō dĕlˈlä gārärdāˈskä) [key], d. 1289, Italian nobleman. A leader of the Guelph, or pro-papal, faction in predominantly Ghibelline (pro-imperial) Pisa, he was made podesta [chief magistrate] of Pisa in 1284 to negotiate a peace with Pisa's Guelph enemies. His attempts to consolidate his power in Pisa, which was anti-Guelph, failed, and he fell victim to a conspiracy. Ugolino was arrested for treason and shut in a tower to starve to death with his sons and grandsons. Dante relates the episode in the Inferno.