Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Gorgona Agricultural Penal Colony

The Gorgona Agricultural Penal Colony is an Italian prison farm located on the island of Gorgona in the Tuscan Archipelago. The island has a long history of being home to monastic communities with the Gorgona Abbey being a prominent establishment on the island for most of the Middle Ages. The abbey was abandoned in 1425 and in 1869 Gorgona became an agricultural penal colony for the Kingdom of Italy.
The penal colony is home to 50 inmates who have been convicted of murder and other violent crimes with a long waiting list for other inmates awaiting transfer to the island. Here the prisoners are able to move freely on the grounds, tending to agricultural work, with only an evening curfew and lockdown.
At the colony, prisoners tend to a vineyard owned by the Frescobaldi family, which has been producing wine in Tuscany for over 700 years. Here they produce 225 cases of a white wine blend of Ansonica and Vermentino, labeled as Gorgona, that will retail for $66 a bottle and be featured on high-end Italian restaurants wine lists, including a Michelin three-star restaurant in Florence. 
In addition to viticulture and winemaking, the penal colony is also home to a vegetable garden and olive tree grove where olive oil is produced, as well as livestock facilities which high quality cheese, chicken and pork is produced.

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