Friday, October 28, 2011

A Famous Black Widow Confirms What MP Girlanda Told Us First: Italian Prisons Are Pretty Nice Places

Posted by Peter Quennell

Florence is 70 miles north of Perugia along a winding roller coaster of an autostrada which everyone drives at great speed.

If you take more than 1/2 an hour you are a sissy. (Just kidding.) The global luxury goods empire House of Gucci with stores in New York, Shanghai, and many other main cities was founded in Florence in 1921.

In 1998 Maurizio Gucci the grandson of the founder who was then aged 46 was executed by a hit man in Milan.

He had sold financial control of the empire he had managed to greatly expand to a Bahrain group in 1993 and then turned to doing other things. That included several girlfriends or mistresses which greatly distressed his wife.

Patrizia Reggiani was subsequently tried for initiating the hit and she was sentenced to 29 years which was reduced on appeal to 26. Nick Squires in the Daily Telegraph picks up the story from there.

Patrizia Reggiani has been in jail ever since being convicted of the killing in 1998. More than a decade later, she was the prospect of day release from Milan’s San Vittore prison, if she will accept a menial job such as working as a waitress.

But the 63-year-old, whose extravagant tastes included spending 10,000 euros a month on orchids, told a court in Milan: “I’ve never worked in my life and I’m certainly not going to start now.”

Her peremptory refusal of the day release deal echoed one of her more famous quotes: “I would rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle.”

Instead she intends to serve the rest of her 26-year sentence in her jail cell, where she reportedly lavishes affection on a collection of pot plants and a pet ferret.

She will continue to be allowed to make twice-monthly visits to her ageing mother, who lives in a lavish palazzo in central Milan ““ a reminder of the cosseted lifestyle Mrs Reggiani used to enjoy.

A not-unpopular figure in Italy, she may soon be depicted by Angelina Jolie in a new Ridley Scott film to be called “Gucci” with Leonardo di Caprio as the hapless Maurizio. 

The description of Patrizia’s prison life comes with no surprises. If you are going to be a prisoner anywhere in the world, Italy does seem the place of choice. .

The prison population is very small (proportionally only 1/6 that of the US) and prisoners often get their own bathroom and even a kitchen attached to their cell. They can watch TV and walk outside (in many prisons cell doors are kept open all day) and get their hair done professionally and attend rock concerts and plays. They can learn a trade if they lack skills, study for a degree, and even work on a computer all day.

Knox and Sollecito are believed to have done all of these things. Not least because the Italian MP Rocco Girlanda often visited Knox in Capanne and publicly told us all so. Mr Girlanda regularly visited to inspect conditions and then he declared Knox to be very well off. (He in return ended up with enough material for a book which nowhere depicted prison life as hell.)

These sob-stuff stories on torrid life at Capanne suddenly emerging from Seattle sure smack of an instant rewrite of history. Perhaps Angelina Jolie could check them out.

[Image at bottom: the Gucci museum in Florence which recently had a celebrity opening]


Thank you Peter for all the wonderful updates and all your effort to bring the latest developments to everyone checking this great site. Am sure AK will miss Italy very much. Once you get past being a tourist you find the real Italians are very kind and polite.

They have a beautiful culture and together with the history the art the music the food the wine and the marvellous off hand way of them draws people to come back time and time again.

AK and RS would have been treated extremely well in prison. Beats hanging out with the semi literate cult followers she inspires in the US.

Most Italians i know believe that she is guilty. They have had their share of baby faced killers in the past who have committed horrific murders, such as Erika de Nado aged 16.

A quote from a detective FROM the London Murder Squad when asked about a possible motive for a knife murder on a bus right in front of CCTV -MOTIVES ARE FOR THE MOVIES. TODAY WE ARE SEEING MORE AND MORE MOTIVELESS CRIMES OR APPARENTLY MOTIVELESS CRIMES.

Those of us who were shocked at the verdict of the Appeals Court can take comfort at least that people on this site will keep up the pressure on AK in the future the best they can.The fact that she has a criminal conviction now is at least some consolation.

We will follow the case very closely and am sure AK and RS will not live happily every after.

Posted by mason2 on 10/28/11 at 09:58 PM | #

Wot, Rocco Girlanda didn’t observe any ‘torture’ at Capanne? Or maybe it was his regular visits that was part of the torture 😊

Posted by Ergon on 10/28/11 at 09:58 PM | #

Thanks Peter,

Lately there seems to be more press about Knox and Sollecito. They talk to each other, he is going to visit, prison was torture, etc.

I even say an article where they claimed he dumped her!

Just the press doing what they do, or the Knox PR
machine keeping up the interest?

Posted by Miriam on 10/28/11 at 10:43 PM | #

Hi, Im new here. Only just had my account activated. Its really great to see a place where people who really care about Meredith and her family can come together and remember her, and campaign for justice.

I was wondering, has anything been set up, or in the pipeline to be set up ( maybe at a later time ) with Merediths name attached to it? Maybe a foundation which can raise money for the families of the relatives of victims of crime, or something like that? I really would like to see something like that happen one day. Even if it helped one family it would be worth while.

If anyone has any info on anything like this, please could they let me know? Maybe something already exists. Has the family asked for donations to a particular cause. Its frustrating wanting to do something and not knowing what.

Anyway, great site and big pat on the back to everyone who has made this place and keeps the fight going for Meredith. She deserves it!


Posted by kcisboy on 10/28/11 at 10:58 PM | #

Many poor Italians resent the lavish lifestyle of their prisoners- at the cost of the taxpayers.

I will rate them *****. Not speaking from personal experience!

Posted by chami on 10/29/11 at 06:16 AM | #

Black widows. Maybe it was kismet that AK’s cellmate was called the Black Widow for having killed her husband. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Same fury might be the underlying cause of AK’s attitude toward Meredith, which she “gave right back at cha” with disrespectful cartwheel and kisses. She was dissing someone she felt had dissed her like Patrizia Reggiani lashed out at her betrayor.

Can’t you imagine AK’s Black Widow cellmate evaluating her prison buddy. Something like: Miss Knox, what are you doing here? This is insane. What happened, honey? Look at you. You’re young, pretty, healthy, financially stable. My gosh, you’re an American with a college education. Wow, you messed up bad. You could have had your pick of men, the world was your oyster. Your whole life was ahead of you, but you destroyed it.

At least I waited until my marriage went sour. Gosh, what I’d give to be 21 again. Bambi, how bad could that British roommate have bothered you compared to my worthless husband? Oy vey, don’t get me started… If you think a roommate is hard to live with, just wait till you’re married. I think you’re a schmuck. You look OK on the outside, but must be something seriously wrong with you. You wasted your advantages and landed in Capanne for no reason. You cracked before you faced anything hard in life. At least I hung in there another decade or so. It was the drugs, wasn’t it? The booze. Or did the guy run you crazy? You are weak, everybody sees through your act, oh so cool, calm, collected. Shoulda tried that before the fight at cottage.

Posted by Hopeful on 10/29/11 at 10:54 PM | #


Real nice description.  I wonder why she did not write about her cell mates in her diary.

I guess Scandinavian prisons may be better than Italian prisons in terms of luxury and liberty.

If she had any sense, she would have seen through it very clearly.  She has really no future now IMHO.

The PR propaganda machine has actually damaged her future by making her so visible. 

We should now focus more on the coming trial. What is going to happen on Nov 15th?

Posted by chami on 10/30/11 at 03:58 PM | #

Hi kcisboy. Thanks for the endorsement. Meredith’s family have always taken the high road and refused offers of financial help.

We have periodically come back to discussing a fund of some kind for the memory of Meredith and the support of other victims’ families who face a biased media onslaught.

Now could be a very good time. It would really help us to hear concrete ideas and especially to know of anyone in the readership who might help run it.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 10/31/11 at 02:37 PM | #

How about some kind of fellowship or prize for the best foreign student at the place where she last studied (Perugia)? It will be supported by unconditional donations.  Perhaps we can collect funds over an year or more?  Her name will be associated with the prize- what do you think?

Posted by chami on 10/31/11 at 07:15 PM | #
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