SARONNO, Italy - Just when I thought I had heard just about all I ever wanted to hear about women in the Italian prison system thanks to Amanda Knox, I hear that Patrizia Reggiani, has once again turned down the Court’s offer of parole. It seems one of the conditions is that she has to get a J.O.B.
She nixed that idea right off, telling the judge that she has never worked a day in her life and she has no intentions of starting now. Reggiani, you may remember, is currently serving a 29 year sentence for hiring a hit man to kill her husband Maurizio Gucci, of the famous Gucci fashion family.
It’s all too delicious to be true. So Reggiani, who once said she would rather cry in the back of a Rolls Royce than be happy on a bicycle, will stay in Milan’s San Vittore prison where she spends her time taking care of her plants and caring for her pet ferret, and going to visit her mother every week.
Life in San Vittore prison is not exactly like the lifestyle she enjoyed when she was Mrs. Gucci, but then again her life as Mrs. Gucci ended in 1985 when Mr. Gucci packed an overnight bag, and told her he was leaving for an important business trip and then sent a doctor friend armed with a bottle of Valium to tell her he was never coming back.
Patrizia ended up with a huge settlement, including the eighteenth century penthouse on one of Milan’s toniest streets. But she couldn't let go. Even though they were separated they continued to fight and argue – especially about the children – and over the years Patrizia developed an obsessive hatred for her ex-husband. She told people Maurizio had the personality of a seat cushion that took the shape of the last person who sat on it.
|The Way They Were|
But the straw that broke her back was when Maurizio fell in love with another woman, Paola Franchi, tall, slim, blonde, and announced his plans to re-marry. Mr. Gucci was on his way to a new life, or so he thought, and that was his undoing. Over the years Patrizia had often talked about how much she wanted to see Maurizio dead, she made no bones about it and even went so far as to challenge her lawyer and her low-life friends to find someone to do the deed. Those around her were never quite sure if she was serious or not.
Apparently she was. On March 27, 1995, a Sicilian thug named Benedetto Ceraulo waited for Maurizio Gucci to enter the building where his office was located, and before he had time to cross the lobby to get to the elevator Ceraulo fired four shots into his body and then finished him off with a shot to the head.
|Gucci Boutique, Via Montenapoleone, Milano|
When the story hit the news, everyone was in a state of shock. It was a made-for-TV movie running in real time. It had everything: fabulous wealth, love and hate, greed and jealousy, all set against a background of soft handmade leather bags and the glamour of Milanese society.
A few months later police knocked on the door of Patrizia’s penthouse and arrested the 49 year old for the murder of her former husband. At her trial she claimed Maurizio was shot so that Benedetto Ceraulo, the Sicilian hit man could blackmail her. But everyone knew that Patrizia Reggiani had begun keeping strange company, including Guiseppina Auriemma, a former boutique owner who claimed to be a psychic, and the night porter of a cheap hotel in Milan who was a friend of Benedetto Ceraulo , the man who pulled the trigger.
As guards escorted a stricken Patrizia back to her cell after the final verdict was read, she was quoted as saying: ''Evidently, they didn't believe me.''
The judge sentenced Patrizia to a total of 29 years in jail. Her co-conspirators were also convicted. The hit man was given a life sentence while the psychic, who first contacted the killers, was given 25 years. The two other accomplices also got heavy sentences.
|Patrizia Reggiani and her daughers at the funeral|
But that was then and this is now, and now she’d rather stay in jail than get out and get a job. Maybe that should be her punishment – instead of tending to her plants and wiling away the hours in the company of her pet ferret, she should spend 8 hours a day on her feet serving snooty socialites at the Gucci Boutique on Corso Montenapoleone in Milan.
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