The Medici Fortress is built on the highest point of the hill overlooking the town. The origins of the fortress predate the ascendancy of the Medicis, and dates back around A.D. 700, despite the name. The southern half was constructed at the command of the governor of Florence in 1342. Today, part of this maximum-security prison is used as a restaurant, operated by the inmates themselves.Visitors are serenaded by Bruno, a pianist doing life for murder, and eat inside an old chapel set behind the 60 ft-high walls, watch towers, searchlights and security cameras of the daunting 500-year-old fortress, and boasts the type of cuisine you might find in a five-star restaurant.
Poggioreale jail was built in 1905 due to overcrowding at the other regional prisons. It was built in the unhealthy marshland east of the city, a place where the black death had struck Naples. It was a paradise for hunters as it was full of migratory birds. A land reclamation began between 1830 and 1844 in order to allow the construction of the Central Railway Station. The Poggioreale Jail construction, started at the beginning of 1900s, was part of a development plan that included a big open market, a fish-market, a scrap-iron-market (the so named. “scasso”), a slaughter-house, the cemetery and, near the sea, ship-building, refineries, and harbor-customs. Poggioreale Prison was originally built to receive only 700 inmates, and cells were first built as a single units, but were transformed into huge dormitories in order to receive more people. During the first half of 1940s and immediately following WWII, the population in Poggioreale jail counted 7,000 people, caused by the imprisonment of political prisoners and black-market traders. Nowadays, the number of prisoners is nearly 2,000; however, due to the rate of crimes committed in the City, that number can reach 2,300 periodically. About 700 Correctional Officers work in the prison, with a support staff of 400.
Built as a Monastery in 1654, Carcere Regina Coeli was converted to Italy's largest and most notorious prison, sitting just blocks from the Vatican and the heart of Rome. Originally called the Chiesa conventuale di S.Maria Regina Coeli, it was founded in 1654 by Anna Colonna, the wife of Taddeo Barberini. The building was converted to a prison under the direction of Carlo Morgini between 1881-1885. On the right side of the site is via delle Mantellate, a convent where the Women's prison with the same name stands. Completed in 1892, it occupies the space of the convent after which it was named. The prison was built in the aftermath of the Italian unification when national identity was still formulating and the economy industrializing. At the same period, the discussion on prison architecture was shifting from an interest in the panopticon-centered structures to the architecture of the cell. Penitentiaries were transformed from sites of mere constrain, to sites of correction, to later develop into laboratories of identity. Regina Coeli epitomizes all.
Carcere Dozza - Bologna, Italy
Carcere Dozza recently received worldwide attention as the subject of a documentory entitled "Thank God it's Monday", a film that describes how work behind bars can help inmates start new lives. The prison works with three packaging industries on-site, using current and former inmates in the manufacturing of plastics, educating them in such areas as engineering. But even though recent years have seen a decline in the population of male inmates between the age of 21 and 25, and although it has one of the smaller populations of prisons in Italy, there are problems in Dozza the same as the larger ones. Overcrowding, lack of hygiene and poor quality food seems to be the same issues faced by prisons worldwide.