The first is rooted in a more deep Catholic tradition. According to the Bible the dove represents and symbolizes the hope to return and also peace because it was Noah's ark with an olive branch in its beak after the flood, marking the reconciliation that happened between man and God, and reporting the presence of land. A strong signal so closely tied to the meaning that Easter holds within the culture of Christian countries.
The second version can be traced to medieval times, when the barbarian invasions, specifically those led by King Alboino, came to Italy with his soldiers to conquer the city of Pavia. The siege of the city, as told by the many reports written at the time and in later periods, lasted three decades during which the barbarians were driven from the city. During that time on one occasion King Alboino managed to break through the gates of Pavia and enter it precisely on the eve of Easter in 572. The king, taken by a strong desire for revenge decided to burn the entire city and exterminate the citizens. Before he carried out his revenge he first decided to accept the gifts from the people of the conquered city. Legend has it that while the king reflected on the fate of the inhabitants, a humble craftsman appeared before him who handed him a gift of bread and cakes in the shape of a dove as a tribute and a gesture of peace on Easter Sunday. The cakes turned out so tasty that it influences the king to change his mind and spare the inhabitants of Pavia. Thus the traditional of the Columba was born.
The final version of the origin of the Colomba comes from the Milanese Company "Motta" deciding to make a product similar to the panettone, but with an aspect decidedly connected to Easter. The Colomba was born a dessert cake with a similar composition to the panettone, but that is enriched with the flavor of amaretto.
Whether you believe the folklore or the just the idea of a company looking for a new product, the Easter Colomba, in respects to Italian cuisine represents a production of excellence in pastry making.
Thanks to the Associazione Industrie Dolciaria Italiana