In Italian Colomba means "Dove" and it is the typical Eastern cake. The reasons of this shape have deep roots with Italian history.
One version dates back to 572 DC, in the city of Pavia. Barbarians, leaded by King Alboino, after a siege long 3 years entered in the city. In order to avoid their fury and make them a bit calmer, people from Pavia gifted them of an enriched bread with a shape of a dove. The conquerors were so happy about the gift that they didn't plunder Pavia and moreover it became the capital of the new Kingdom.
The second version is from 1176, during the battle of Legnano, two doves, despite the battle landed peacefully right on the flag of the Lombardy League. After seeing this Federico Barbarossa,the leader of the Lombardy League to inspire courage amongst his men, ordered the cooks to make some enriched bread with a shape of a dove.
However the modern version of the Colomba dates back in the 70's when the panettone maker Motta from Milan decided to use the same methods and same machinery to make an Eastern enriched bread, similar to Panettone but shaped like a dove.
The Colomba then has been produced industrially by Vergani from Milan, becoming a must have for any italians during Eastern.