“I’ve never worked in my life, I won’t start now,” says Patrizia Reggiani, who has served half of a 26-year sentence for commissioning the murder of her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci. She is now eligible for parole, but would rather stay in jail than join a w
MILAN - For some, work is a prison. For others, like Patrizia Reggiani, the former Mrs. Maurizio Gucci, staying in prison is better than working. Having served half of a 26-year sentence for commissioning the murder of her ex husband, the last heir of the Italian fashion dynasty Gucci, Reggiani is entitled to work release. But she is not interested.
"I've never worked in my life, I won't start now," she answered, when the Italian judges reviewing her case asked why she had not applied to the program.
Once a well-to-do Milanese lady, Reggiani has been sharing a cell in Milan's San Vittore prison with different cellmates, two evergreen plants, and a ferret, since her January 1997 arrest for the murder of her husband, who was shot a few blocks from home.
Reggiani's lawyer, Danilo Buongiorno, defend his client's right to not apply for work release. "It's up to her to choose. Her decision has to be respected," he says. "My client is not well. She is still suffering from her 1992 brain surgery. Living with her cellmates is not easy."
Obviously, life in jail is hardly easy for this once rich socialite who, when arrested, complained that she missed her make up. She later obtained access to lipstick and rouge. Reggiani has spoken nicely of her two cellmates. "They are so nice. They even help me to make the bed," Reggiani said.
Weeping in a Rolls
Once a waitress with sparkling eyes who became Mrs. Gucci, Reggiani paid a fortune teller and an unemployed driver to plot the murder of her husband, a womanizer who had decided to leave her. Prison should be tough for her, but apparently not as tough as working. She was famous for her extravagant life, for spending some 10,000 euros a month for orchids alone, and for once famously declaring, ""I would rather weep in a Rolls Royce than be happy on a bicycle."" She is still the same. Working in a gym or restaurant would be tougher for her than prison.
"Anyway, since 2005, my client is allowed out to visit her elderly mother," says her lawyer. Twice a month, for 12 hours, Patrizia Reggiani leaves the prison to return to the luxury building in the center of Milan where she used to live. Now, her mother lives with servants in the opulent five-story palace, which includes a private gym.
During those 12-hour leaves, Reggiani must try to forget the squalor of the cell, and the sadistic cellmates who once hanged her first ferret, Bambi. Still, she has to walk past the sign posts of her dark past: the bar in the elegant piazza San Babila, the corner of the nearby street, where her husband was shot, Maurizio Gucci's office, where the doorman Giuseppe Onorato still works. Onorato, who survived two shots from the gunman who killed Gucci, still waits for Patrizia Reggiani to pay him 100,000 euros in court-ordered damages. The former Mrs. Gucci still lives in a world of illusions, a place where she has learned how to ignore everything, even the sound of the door of the jail cell that slams shut every night behind her.
Read the original article in Italian
Photo - Telenova