Vittoria Colonna was born at Marino, Lazio, Italy in 1490. She was a daughter of Fabrizio Colonna and Agnese di Montefeltro. In 1509 she married Francesco Ferrante D'Avalos, who was the Marquis of Pescara. He was a knight and was often absent from home. He took part in many battles and wars. He was taken prisoner by the French in 1512. In 1525 he died from wounds after the battle of Pavia. From that time Colonna, a childless widow, lived in a nunnery although she did not become a nun. She was the most admired woman poet in Italy during the Renaissance. Vittoria Colonna died in Rome in 1547.
The first edition of Colonna's book of poems, named Rime (Rhymes) was published in 1538. They turned out to be very popular. There were twelve editions of the book published before she died. Vittoria Colonna was admired for her poetry by Ludovico Ariosto. She was a friend of many other poets and artists, Jacopo Sannazzaro, Pietro Bembo, Baldassare Castiglione and especially Michelangelo. Colonna wrote sonnets, canzone (songs) and short poems in ottava rima. She wrote also a longer poem named Capitolo del trionfo di Cristo (The chapter about the Triumph of Christ).