Diners are flocking to what could perhaps be termed the most exclusive restaurant in Italy – one located inside a top security prison, where the chefs and waiters are Mafiosi, robbers and murderers.
Serenaded by Bruno, a pianist doing life for murder, the clientele eat inside a deconsecrated chapel set behind the 60 ft-high walls, watch towers, searchlights and security cameras of the daunting 500-year-old Fortezza Medicea, at Volterra near Pisa.
Under the watchful eye of armed prison warders, a 20-strong team of chefs, kitchen hands and waiters prepares 120 covers for diners who have all undergone strict security checks. Tables are booked up weeks in advance.
The Mafia may be in charge, but there is no horse’s head on this menu. Instead, a smart, middle-aged crowd tucks into a vegetarian signature menu, cooked up by head chef Egidio – serving life for murder – and keenly priced at €25 ($33.7), including a glass of wine with each course.
The restaurant opened two months ago and has proved so popular that Italy’s prison department is thinking of trying it in other jails.