Where does the Easter Dove come from, which became essential on the tables of Italians on Easter days? The legends about its origin are many, some wrapped in a magical aura, others linked to the History of Pavia, the city that made them famous.
A first reconstruction features the Lombard queen Teodolinda and the Irish saint abbot San Colombano. In this version the monk, visiting Pavia itself, was invited to a rich banquet organized in his honor by the royal family. But since the meal was based on game, while the abbot had vowed not to feed on animals, the religious blessed the meat by performing a miracle, transforming it into white bread. Thus overcome the impasse, the monk received from the stunned queen the territory on which the Abbey of San Colombano would then be born.
A second legend, more likely, says that a dove-shaped cake was offered to King Alboino as a sign of peace, when he conquered Pavia after three years of siege, on Easter Sunday. The welcome gift convinced the conquering King to spare the city from violent pillaging.
The last version tells that during the battle of Legnano, in 1176, three doves appeared at the vigil of the insignia of the League of Lombardi municipalities that had united to face the army of the invader Frederick Barbarossa, to symbolize the divine favor towards the troops Italian. From that episode spread the custom of preparing Colomba-shaped loaves.