A Meal You Can't Refuse

Fine dining in an Italian prison
CBS
The clang of a prison door is not generally associated with fine dining.

But then you've probably never considered spending a night inside a 15th century fortress that is one of Italy's most secure jails — where the cooks and waiters are murderers, bank robbers, drug dealers … and don't ask what else, CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reports.

Bruno the entertainer is doing 25 years for stabbing his girlfriend 25 times in a public square in broad daylight.

The dapper chap in the brocade waistcoat is a Sardinian bandit.

Whether or not your waiter is a "made man" is left up to your imagination.

The evening costs about $35 and the food and wine are donated, so most of the money goes to charity, and the rest is split among the 27 inmates who do the work.

"Uguale. A'destra. Sinistra."

"It's all the same, left, right," he says. "Welcome."

But you have to be more than a friend of Luigi, the bank robber-turned-maitre d' to get a table here.

It's not so much a case of whom you know, but who knows you.

A security check requires booking three weeks in advance.

No criminal records allowed. Show an ID, hand in your cell phone and purse and go through a metal detector.

The monthly event is the part of the rehabilitation program dreamed up by warden Mariagrazia Gianpiccolo.

"I'm crazy? No. I hope no," Gianpiccolo said.

Her record for the first four months is the envy of any restaurateur: fully booked every time. And the craziness of it is one reason why.

"You're not often invited to dinner with a ton of murderers," said actress Caroline Goodall.

The curiosity factor is of course a big drawing card for this restaurant. But take it from someone who is based in Italy — the food is pretty good too, even if you do have to eat it off plastic cutlery.

But then, given the setting, how can you complain? As far as we know, no one has. The staff is very good at offering pasta you can't refuse.