UBALDINO DELLA PILA (about 1205-1289)
“Vidi per fame a voto usar li denti
Ubaldin dalla Pila e Bonifazio
che pasturò col rocco molte genti”.
(Purg., XXIV, vv. 28-30)
Ubaldino della Pila, older brother of Cardinal Ottaviano, is met by Dante among the gluttons in Purgatory. The fame of a good fork, spread by his contemporary Dante and who knows him directly, extends over time, and perhaps he is credited with the invention of the “Ubaldine” fritters described with many variations in a cookbook of the fourteenth century, including others “complicated and refined delicacies”. In Sacchetti’s novels Ubaldino is described in a bizarre and jovial mood (Nov. CCV); in politics he was Podestà of Borgo San Lorenzo (1238, 1239, 1281) and of Lucca in 1265. Influential Ghibelline leader, after the battle of Montaperti in 1260, he was among those who proposed to destroy Florence, defended by Farinata degli Uberti (Inf X 92; Villani VI 81). In agreement with his brother Ottaviano, in the summer of 1273 he hosted Pope Gregory X and his entire court at the Castle of Montaccianico for a few months, where archaeological excavations have brought to light a seal.
Photo credits: Cavaliere degli Ubaldini_MuFiS – Museo del Figurino Storico di Calenzano (FI)