Columba of Rieti (1467–1501)

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Columba of Rieti (1467–1501)

Italian mystic of the Third Order of Penance who promoted a project to reform the religious female life in the early modern age. Name variations: Angela or Angelella; Columba de Rieti; Colomba da Rieti; called Columba ("dove") because of a miraculous event that took place during her baptism. Born in Rieti, Italy, in 1467 in a merchants' family; died on May 20, 1501; daughter of Angelo Antonio and Giovanna Guadagnali, called Vanna.

Columba of Rieti took her vows at age 18. At 21, she left her hometown and moved to Perugia, where she founded the nunnery of the Colombe and engaged in social and political reform. According to tradition, when Perugia was struck by the plague in 1494, it was Columba's intercession that ended the epidemic and saved the population. Known as the co-patron of Rieti and Perugia with the title of protector, Columba died on May 20, 1501, at age 34; the cause of death was said to be her continued fasts and physical penances.


Bontempi, S. Angeli De'. Legenda B. Columbae, in AA.SS. Maii, V, Anversa: 1865 p. 319–398.

——. Legenda Volgare. Perugia: Augusta Library, ms. D. 62.

Una santa, una citta. Proceedings of the historical congress for the 5th centenary of the coming in Perugia of Columba from Rieti, Florence: 1990.

Zarri, G. Le sante vive: Cultura e religiosità femminile nella prima et moderna. Torino: Rosemberg and Sellier, 1989.

suggested reading:

Il Territorio, special issue, Vol. VIII, no. 2–3. January–August 1992.

Tozzi, I. Colomba da Rieti: Sacro e parola di donna. Demian: Teramo, 1993.

Ileana Tozzi , member of the Società Italiana delle Storiche, lives in Rieti, Italy

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Columba of Rieti (1467–1501)