Count Ugolino della Gheradesca, more commonly known as simply Count Ugolino was one of The Damned which Dante must Punish or Absolve for "The Damned" Achievement/Trophy. He was encountered in The Circle of Treachery.


"Italian nobleman and naval commander. Aligning himself with Guelphs and Ghibellines alike, he switched allegiances often until his ultimate imprisonment and death by starvation."


Ugolino della Gherardesca, Count of Donoratico, was a great but treacherous Italian nobleman and politician. He was a member of the Ghibellines, the rival political faction to the Guelphs (Dante's own faction) yet had significant family connections with the Guelphs. Always pitting one man against another as blood spilled, he thought about no one other than himself, hoping to protect his own power. Ugolino betrayed the Ghibellines and his own birthplace of Pisa multiple times to the Guelphs, yet always managed to wriggle out of penalties and regain his influence over the city. He negotiated with Archbishop Ruggieri degli Ubaldini in order to establish himself as overlord of Pisa instead of his grandson, Nino Visconti. However, after Ruggieri helped Ugolino against Visconti, the archbishop himself then betrayed Ugolino after Ruggeri's own nephew was murdered by the count during a riot, rallying the embittered villagers against their overlord. Ugolino was captured and he, alongside his two sons and two other grandsons, were locked up in the Tower of Muda in Pisa. Ruggieri locked the door, had the keys thrown into the nearest river and left the family to die from starvation, while the archbishop declared himself the head of the city. Ugolino was the last to perish in the tower, forced to witness his children and grandchildren die before him. In some versions of the story and recorded in the Inferno, when his sons and grandsons all died before him, Ugolino remained alive for a time by resorting to cannibalism (though scientific analysis of the remains disproved this).


"I am Podesta, the greatest ruler Pisa had ever seen..."

"We support you, Emperor! For we are a proud family of Ghibellines..."

"Marry my sister to Giovanni Visconti. An alliance with the Pope's Guelphs will strengthen my hand."

"I don't care how suspicious the Ghibellines are..."

"Play Guelph against Ghibelline and my power increases a hundred fold!"

"They accused me of plotting to undermine the government..."

"Exile me if you wish, imprison me if you must..."

"The Guelphs in Lucca and Florence will help me reassert my influence."

"I will bring Pisa to its knees! Peace will only be made on the most humiliating of terms."

"Kill the Archbishop's pig of a nephew after I pardon all the Guelph exiles."

"Tell the Archbishop and the Ghibellines we will thrive in this prison!"

"The keys were thrown into the Arno River... and we were left to starve."

*Grabbed by Dante* "Forget my sons, feed me first!"

*Grabbed by Dante* "I feel sorrow only for myself..."

*Grabbed by Dante*"Watching my sons starve broke my heart..."

*Grabbed by Dante* "We suffered terribly in that prison!"

"Don't condemn me to starve..." *Slain by Dante*

*Absolved by Dante* "My God and countrymen...I suffer no more..."


  • In The Inferno, Dante and Virgil witness the soul of Count Ugolino, frozen within the ice of Cocytus' second round, Antenora, for betraying his country. He is gnawing on the head of his lifelong foe, Archbishop Ruggieri, and he tells Dante and Virgil his sad story of how Archbishop Ruggieri turned on him, resulting in Count Ugolino's ultimate imprisonment and death from starvation. He is the only shade in this region allowed some revenge for his death, being allowed to feed on the man who caused his death (in a twist on how Ruggeri chose to kill him).
  • Ugolino's vengeance on Ruggieri in Hell is reflected in the downloadable relic "Brains of Ruggieri".
  • Ugolino is the final Condemned Soul to absolve or punish in order to unlock "The Damned" achievement.
Condemned Souls
Pontius Pilate ·  Orpheus ·  Electra ·  Francesca da Polenta ·  Paolo Malatesta ·  Semiramis ·  Ciacco ·  Clodia
Tarpeia ·  Gessius Florus ·  Fulvia ·  Boudica ·  Hecuba ·  Filippo Argenti ·  Emperor Frederick II
Cavalcante de Cavalcanti ·  Farinata degli Uberti ·  Attila the Hun ·  Pietro della Vigna ·  Brunetto Latini
Guido Guerra ·  Thaïs ·  Tiresias ·  Myrrha ·  Fra Alberigo ·  Mordred ·  Count Ugolino