I first visited Verona thirty years ago. I was in Venice having lunch with an aunt and two cousins who I had never met before. During the memorable lunch, which you can read about here, it emerged that my eldest cousin, Silvia, sang in the chorus at the Arena di Verona—a well-preserved Roman amphitheater where a summer season of operas are staged in a manner that Cecil B DeMille would be proud of—and was appearing in Aida that evening. A moment of summer madness resulted in my going with her (Verona is about an hour away from Venice) and hearing Verdi’s music soaring up to the stars while a cast of a thousand ballerinas danced on a vast pyramid behind the stage.
This recipe is from Tuscany.
The colomba is to Italian Easter what the panettone is to Christmas. The name, which means dove, comes from its shape, representing the Holy Spirit, who in the New Testament of the Bible appears in the form of a dove. Like the panettone, the colomba is ubiquitous in the shops in the period leading up to the festival, and it’s notoriously difficult to make. The original recipe requires making three doughs and leaving each to rise for a couple of hours before using it to make the next one.