April 22, 2024

Pianosa Prison Island: A woman lives alone among 10 prisoners

Pianosa Prison Island

Julia is the only woman out of 10 prisoners

Italian Giulia Manca was vacationing on the Mediterranean island of Pianosa. There are ten prisoners working in the only hotel. But the new administrator was missing.


Italian Giulia Manca decided to move to Pianosa in 2011.


  • Julia Manca lives and works in Pianosa Island Prison.

  • You deal with ten criminals every day.

  • However, the project is very successful considering the recidivism rate.

A few years ago, Julia Manca accepted a private job: she runs the only hotel on the island Italian island Pianosa in the Mediterranean. The fact that she has to deal with ten prisoners every day doesn’t bother her. On the contrary: “I am not afraid. I feel here Safer than in the cityWith all the crazy people out there. You never know who you’ll run into.”

Pianosa Island is not just an island. Often called “Italian Alcatraz” or “Devil’s Island,” this tiny 10-square-kilometre island doubles as a prison. Convicted criminals – including murderers – work in the only dorm that offers eleven rooms for tourists. The prisoners work at the Melina Hotel as cooks, gardeners, waiters, beach cleaners, and dishwashers. Julia Manca is their boss. Prisoners are also watched by a prison guard.

Prisoners need a second chance

The woman tells CNN how she got the job in the first place. “I spent my vacation here in 2011 and loved it. I didn’t want to go home.” But Manka was most impressed with the rehabilitation project, which gives offenders a “second chance at life,” she explained. The trained travel agent learned from the hotel manager at the time that the accommodation was in financial difficulty and might have to Close it This meant that the detainees had to be returned to a regular prison on the mainland.

“I felt I had to do something to help them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have had a chance to start over and learn a trade that could help them after they were released,” says the Italian. Thus, against the advice of her family and friends, she moved to Pianosa. Today the hotel is back in the black: it is now a popular venue for weddings and birthday parties.

Manca asserts that she hasn’t had a problem with the inmates in twelve years. Although she sometimes has to deal with criminals — “nobody’s here because they stole a bouquet of flowers,” she says — the secret to her success lies in the fact that she draws clear boundaries. Manca explains that her relationship with the staff is “mutually respectful”. She succeeds in doing this by finding “a balance between distance and an authoritarian yet open attitude”.

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The project’s credit is very positive: Of the hundreds of criminals who participated in the “pianosa model” over the years and have since been freed, only 0.01 percent have committed crimes.

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