VITTORIA COLONNA IN ORVIETO
Damon DiMauro is a professor of French and Italian at Gordon College, with particular interest in prominent figures in Renaissance Italy who were influenced by, and in turn influenced, the ideas of the Protestant Reformation.
Dr. DiMauro's fascinating essay on Vittoria Colonna and her sojourn in Orvieto—in the very monastery where the programs of Gordon College were housed for several years—is now divided into three parts. Part 1, an historical account of her life and her time in Orvieto, can be found here. Part 2, an account of her involvement with a Reformist group of influential Roman Catholics sympathetic with Protestant emphasis on grace alone, can be found here. Part 3, an account of her friendship and correspondence with Michelangelo and the French noblewoman Marguerite de Navarre, Queen of Navarre—with whom Colonna shared her poetry—can be found here.
A complete bibliography of the sources for all three essays, including a note on the nineteenth-century Orvietano scholar, Domenico Tordi, to whom all scholarship about Orvieto and Vittoria Colonna is indebted, is found below.
An essay on Vittoria Colonna in Orvieto would be incomplete without due mention of Domenico Tordi, who was born in Orvieto in 1857, and who remains to this day the most important Colonna scholar to have ever put pen to paper. As a young man, Tordi chose a career in the Italian civil service and, by 1912, had worked his way up to become Head Postmaster of Florence, retiring there in 1923. In his spare time, he devoted himself to scholarly research, publishing documents he uncovered in archives and libraries and contributing articles to learned journals and newspapers. Over the years, he also patiently gathered an impressive collection of rare books and manuscripts, as well as some five thousand autograph letters from various writers of note. In his own last will and testament, which, as is fitting, was reproduced in pamphlet form after his death by the town fathers of his native city, Tordi donated his entire stock of materials to the Orvietan municipal library “Luigi Fumi,” except, alas, those pertaining to Vittoria Colonna, which he gave instead to the National Library in Florence. His stated reason for setting apart the Colonna collection at the National Library was only so that future scholars might have more ready access to it. But Orvieto remained the closest to Tordi’s heart, since he designated its soil to be his final resting place. In fact, as early as 1886, in a letter to his wife Erminda, he lamented the woeful neglect in which Vittoria Colonna’s memory had fallen, that “not even a stone is left to signal her passage on earth,” and thereby expressed the desire to see her commemorated in some way by his home town: “I have endeavored and do endeavor to give my country the honor of her rightful rehabilitation, by putting perhaps a small marble tablet in the Convent of San Paolo where she repeatedly sought refuge.” It is not clear whether Tordi ever realized his design to erect a monument to Vittoria in Orvieto. But by the time of his death in 1933, after four decades of painstaking research and document gathering, he was to bequeath a legacy for future generations of scholars which was to fulfill his plan in ways that he could not have imagined.
 See Alan Bullock, “Domenico Tordi and Vittoria Colonna: Forty Years on,” Italica, Vol. 55, No. 1 (Spring, 1978), 20-35.
 Il Gr. Uff. Domenico Tordi e il suo testamento. Pubblicazione fatta a cura del comune di Orvieto. (Firenze: Mori, 1937).
 See Alan Bullock, art. cit., 22.
 “Voglio che il mio corpo… sia trasportato ad Orvieto… accanto alle salme della mia unica premorta figliuola Giulietta… e della mia sempre lacrimata sposa Erminda Casini di Firenze, per la scomparsa delle quali non ho avuto più gioia vera su questa terra.” Quoted in Alan Bullock, ibid., 34.
 “Nemmo una lapide sta a segnare l’orma sua su questa terra.” Quoted in Alan Bullock, ibid., 28.
 “Ed io ho tentato e tento di dare alla mia patria il vanto della dovuta riparazione mettendo magari un breve marmo nel Convento di S. Paolo dove elle cercò pace ripetutament.” Ibid., 28. When Tordi wrote these words, he was relying on previous scholarship—to wit, a letter mistakenly dated 1532 from Orvieto—in believing that Vittoria had set foot in the city before. However, he himself would prove that the letter should be dated from August 1541. On this topic, see his “Vittoria Colonna in Orvieto durante la Guerra del Sale,” art. cit., 531-533.
Ariosto, Ludovico. Orlando furioso. Ed. by Marcello Turchi. Milan: Garzanti, 1974, 2 vol.
— . Trans. Barbara Reynolds. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1977, 2 vol.
Bainton, Roland H. Bernardino Ochino esule e riformatore senese del cinquecento, 1487-1563. Firenze: Sansoni, 1940.
Il Beneficio di Cristo con le versioni del secolo XVI, documenti e testimonianze. Ed. Salvatore Caponetto. Firenze: Sansoni; Chicago: Newberry Library, 1972.
Brundin, Abigail. Vittoria Colonna and the Spiritual Poetics of the Italian Reformation. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008.
Bullock, Alan. “Domenico Tordi and Vittoria Colonna: Forty Years on,” Italica, Vol. 55, No. 1 (Spring, 1978), 20-35.
Buonarroti, Michelangelo. The Poetry of Michelangelo. Ed. and trans. James M. Saslow. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.
Burckhardt, Jacob. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1945.
Campi, Emidio. Michelangelo e Vittoria Colonna: Un dialogo artistico-teologico ispirato da Bernardino Ochino…. Turin: Claudiniana, 1994.
Cantimori, Delio. Eretici italiani del Cinquecento. Florence: Sansoni, 1939.
Collett, Barry. A Long and Troubled Pilgrimage: the Correspondence of Marguerite d’Angoulême and Vittoria Colonna, 1540-1545. Studies in Reformed Theology and History, new series, 6. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Theological Seminary, 2000.
Caponetto, Salvatore. The Protestant Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Italy, trans. Anne C. Tedeschi and John Tedeschi, Sixteenth-Century Essays and Studies, 43. Kirksville, MO: Thomas Jefferson University Press, 1999.
Carteggio di Vittoria Colonna Marchesa di Pescara, 2nd edition. Edited by Ermanno Ferrero and Giuseppe Müller with a supplement by Domenico Tordi. Turin: Ermanno Loeshcer, 1892.
Casapullo, Rosa. “Per una lettura del Trionfo di Cristo di Vittoria Colonna,” in Storia della lingua e storia, Atti del II Convegno ASLI (Catania, 26-28 ottobre 1999), a cura di Gabriella Alfieri. Firenze: Franco Cesari (2003), 337-355.
Colonna, Vittoria. Rime. Ed. Alan Bullock. Rome: Latereza, 1982.
— . Sonnets for Michelangelo. Ed. and trans. by Abigail Brundin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
Firpo, Massimo. Tra alumbrados e ‘spirituali’: studi su Juan de Valdés e il valdesianesimo nella crisi religiosa del ‘500 italiano. Firenze: Olschki, 1990.
Fumi, Luigi. Orvieto, note storiche et biografiche. Città di Castello: S. Lapi, 1891.
Gibaldi, Joseph. “Vittoria Colonna: Child, Woman, Poet,” in Women Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation. Ed. Katharina M. Wilson. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987, pp. 22-46.
Il Gr. Uff. Domenico Tordi e il suo testamento. Pubblicazione fatta a cura del comune di Orvieto. Firenze: Mori, 1937.
Jerrold, Maud F. Vittoria Colonna, Her Friends and Her Times. New York, Freeport, 1906.
Luzio, Alessandro. “Vittoria Colonna,” Rivista Storica Mantovana, Vol. I (1885), 1-52.
Nagel, Alexander. “Gifts for Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna,” Art Bulletin 79 (1997), pp. 647-668.
Pagano, Sergio M. and Concetta Ranieri. Nuovi documenti su Vittoria Colonna e Reginald Pole. Città del Vaticano: Archivio Vaticano, 1989.
Ranieri, Concetta. “Premesse umanistiche alla religiosità di Vittoria Colonna,” Rivista di storia e letteratura religiosa 32 (1996): 531-548.
Reumont, Alfredo. Vittoria Colonna, Marchesa di Pescara, Vita, Fede, and Poesia nel Secolo Decimosesto, trans. into Italian by Giuseppe Müller and Ermanno Ferrero. Seconda Edizione. Torino: Ermanno Loescher, 1892.
Robin, Diana. Publishing Women: Salons, the Presses, and the Counter-Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Italy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.
Saulnier, Verdun-Louis. “Marguerite de Navarre, Vittoria Colonna et quelques autres amis italiens de 1540,” in Mélanges à la mémoire de Franco Simone: France et Italie dans la culture européene. Vol. I: Moyen Age et Renaissance. Genève: Slatkine, 1980, pp. 281-295.
Simoncelli, Paolo. Evangelismo italiano del Cinquecento. Rome: Istituto storico italiano per l’età moderna e contemporanea, 1979.
Tordi, Domenico. Il codice delle Rime di Vittoria Colonna…. Pistoia: Flori, 1900.
— . “Vittoria Colonna in Orvieto durante la Guerra del Sale,” Bollettino della Società Umbra di Storia Patria I (1895), 473-533.