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This is a sentence that I'm willing to bet has never appeared in the pages of F&W: "The waiter is serving wine—and a life sentence for murder."
But here it is on our blog. Why? Because I woke up to it on a BBC report the other day about "one of the most exclusive restaurants in Italy"—inside the Fortezza Medicea maximum-security prison in Volterra.
Apparently tables at this four-month-old spot—which serves both convicts and paying guests—are already booked a month out. The restaurant's prison-garden setting, with a live band of jailed-felon musicians and a medieval watchtower in the background, doesn't look half-bad. And judging from the happy guests the BBC reporter spoke to, the food is as delicious as it is bargain-priced (25 euros for dinner). Because the jail is packed with Cosa Nostra luminaries, "we always include Sicilian food" on the menu, says the convicted-killer chef, who surely doesn't need more trouble than he's already in.
Since the report aired, a few people have asked me if I've been to Fortezza Medicea or know anyone who has. As yet, no. But I'm incredibly eager to hear from anyone who's been—and I'm even more eager to know if it's just eating in a prison that accounts for the cool factor, or if there are more food-related thrills going on there that can't be refused.
(And yes, in a blurb on a mafioso-packed, convict-run restaurant, at least one or two bad puns can't really be refused. At least I didn't use as many as the BBC did.)