<p>(by Giancarlo Dessì, CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)</p>
  • Europe /
  • Italy /
  • Sardinia

A truly breathtaking climb to discover a castle shrouded in mystery.

Ugolino Della Gherardesca
Ugolino Della Gherardesca

Ugolino Della Gherardesca

After beginning the ascent, we catch a glimpse of the first structures. In a narrow and arduous path, we make our way up an “infernal” climb, to quote our beloved poet Dante Alighieri, who in some ways is also an indirect narrator of this itinerary. 

Ugolino Della Gherardesca was an Italian politician and unscrupulous and cruel Pisan naval commander of the 13th century. He became the owner of this fort after 1257, following the Pisan conquests in Sardinia. In fact, as previously mentioned, the influential Pisa’s military expansionist aims led it to conquer vast territories on the two islands of Corsica and Sardinia, and it built a logistical trade network to bring wealth and power to its mother port in Tuscany.

Among the many Pisan commanders and administrators who managed and protected the possessions was Ugolino Della Gherardesca, who was assigned the southern territory of Sardinia. Ugolino held a vital series of noble positions: Count of Donoratico, second in succession as Lord of the third Cagliaritano and Patrician of Pisa. He became Vicar of Sardinia in 1252 on behalf of King Enzo of Swabia and was one of the political leaders of Pisa on 18 April 1284. Between 1256 and 1258, he was engaged together with Sardinian allies in various wars against the Giudicato of Cagliari, of which, following the partition of the same in 1258, he obtained a vast portion in the western part where he favoured the establishment of the important mining town of Villa di Chiesa. It was in this castle that Ugolino, in charge of almost 500 square kilometres of territory, developed the mining activity of these lands thanks to the transfer of skilled Tuscan labourers, thus intensifying the extraction of raw materials in this area.


1. Origins

2. Ugolino Della Gherardesca

3. The stronghold

4. The Legend