Tuesday, 22 May, 2007 Offbeat
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Exclusive dinners served by prisoners

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One of the most curious restaurants was opened two months ago in Rome inside the top-security prison, where one can be served by robbers, murderers and other prisoners.

Every client visiting 500-year-old Fortezza Medicea, at Volterra near Pisa should book tables in advance. Prison guards and security cameras watch over the safety and staff that made up from chefs, waiters and kitchen hands.

Egidio, head chef and pianist Bruno are sentenced for a lifetime for murder. Egidio couldn't cook anything before he started working in prisons restaurant and now he can prepare a five-course meal and none of the diners complained yet.

The director of the prison Maria Grazia Giampiccolo says that this innovation prepares her inmates for life after the release. Many prisoners hope to use their skills after they get out of prison.

All the visitors have to pass through metal detector, present their ID and leave their personal things like cell phones and handbags. They will go past prison cells to enter the restaurant.

Restrictions were introduced into restaurants norms for those who are concerned about safety. Besides the guards watching over the staff, diners will eat from the plastic plates.

The restaurant gained its popularity quite fast so that Italy's prison department thinks over suggesting the idea to other prisons.

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