Silvio Berlusconi died at 9:30 on June 12, 2023, at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan. The former premier, leader of Forza Italia and founder of Mediaset was 86 years old. The funeral will be held on Wednesday 14-06, in the Milan Cathedral.

Silvio Berlusconi died at 9:30 today at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan. The leader of Forza Italia and founder of Mediaset was 86 years old. Berlusconi returned to San Raffaele last Friday, after a long hospitalization - 45 days - which ended a few weeks ago, due to pneumonia and myelomonocytic leukemia. In the morning, his brother Paolo and his children had rushed to the hospital, where Marta Fascina was already; they left the San Raffaele around 12, when Berlusconi's body was taken to Arcore. The funeral home will be held tomorrow at the Mediaset headquarters, at studio 20 in Cologno Monzese; the funeral will be held on Wednesday at 3 pm in the Milan Cathedral. Below, the article signed by Antonio Polito.
The final agony, these three days in which little by little the hope of those who loved him that he could recover once again, defeat leukemia as he had been able in the past to overcome a tumor, heart surgery, bilateral pneumonia from Covid, exposed human fragility before the eyes of the country, exhausted by evil, which hid behind the skin of a fighter. Now is the time for condolences and affection, which from friends and enemies, admirers and despisers (with a few laudable exceptions), is reaching the natural family and the political family of Silvio Berlusconi.

And yet, as only happens to those who enter the history of a nation as a protagonist, honoring his disappearance also means reflecting on his time, on his dimension as "number one", in business, in sport, in politics, in leading the country . And if you had to analyze an instant, in the extraordinary life of Silvio Berlusconi, perhaps you should choose the evening of 8 November 2011. Because a statesman is defined by the way he leaves power, at least as much as he is not both by the way he conquered it.

His biography, therefore, could not begin from the day he opened his first building site, in Brugherio, in 1964, or founded Fininvest, in 1975, paving the way for a television and financial empire that made him one of the most rich in the world. Nor since the day he took the field, on his way to winning three and a half elections and leading four governments for a record nine years. Nor from the time he descended by helicopter on the Arena field to inaugurate the epic of Milan, with him winning five Champions Leagues and eight Scudettos in thirty-one years.

Berlusconi took so much of that power in his life that the real magic moment, the moment to tell, is perhaps the one in which he lost it. This was how things were: Italy was falling apart due to the markets attacking our public debt. Spread over 500 points. Merkel and Sarkozy laughing at him in public. The Europe that was afraid of sinking together with Italy. Gianfranco Fini had formed a party and had gone over to the opposition. Eight deputies, all ex «fidelissimi», betray the Knight in a decisive vote, causing him to lose the majority in Montecitorio.

But he wants to resist. Do not give up. Don't resign as prime minister. "That's what Berlusconi must do," all those around him suggest to him, who have always lived on reflected light and want to keep it lit. But then two phone calls arrive. The first is from Ennio Doris, a friend and former partner in Mediolanum: "Silvio, if you don't resign, Italy will collapse". The second is from his son Luigi, who works in the City of London: «Dad, if Italy collapses, our companies will collapse too». Thus the "Black Knight", the Caiman who in the film played by Nanni Moretti finally instigates the popular revolt in order not to give up power, resigns by accepting the inexorable logic of democratic politics. And in a single afternoon the most used argument against him, the "conflict of interest" between private companies and the public function, turns into its opposite.

Having pursued power, according to his enemies only for his own interest, he must give up power also in his own interest. The "larger than life" dimension, out of the ordinary, of the human and political story of the Cavaliere is all in the moment in which he left Palazzo Chigi forever (and which he then repeatedly declassified as a mere "conspiracy", thus wronging above all himself and the responsible choice he made). The choruses of "buffoon, buffoon" under Palazzo Chigi and the cheering crowds in front of the Quirinale for his resignation did not honor that historic day in its own way. As in the evening of the coins in Craxi, an Italy capable of cowardly outrage showed itself then, after long years of servitude praise. Because Berlusconi was a phenomenon: will to power, of course, but also historical necessity. Together the fruit of the Italian disease and at the same time his attempt to cure. Not the evildoer who conquers a gullible people with horse doses of TV sales pitch, as has been described; but not even the savior of the homeland who liberates his country from Occhetto's Cossacks, the first of the many leaders of the left he defeated.

Rather, for better or for worse, the founder of a new right and a new politics, with liberal ambitions and populist traits, who made school in the world and dominated the Italian scene for twenty years, even when he was in opposition. And then it ended with him, so much so that in order to win again he had to change his skin, sex, age, and incarnate in Giorgia Meloni, anthropologically his opposite.

The anti-Berlusconi professionals have accused him of every crime. And it is true that more than twenty trials have been brought against him, with various charges, sometimes particularly defamatory, such as the exploitation of child prostitution in the person of Ruby Rubacuori, one of the many participants in the sarabanda of girls who hosted in his villas; or as the suspicion of collusion with the mafia that led one of his greatest friends and comrades in arms, Marcello Dell'Utri, to conviction and prison; or even the accusation of having plotted the massacres of 1993 to accelerate his own political triumph. He has been acquitted, acquitted or otherwise prescribed from almost all the charges, also thanks to the dilatory arts of his crowd of lawyers, led by his faithful and now deceased Ghedini.

And therefore, if the law is to be believed, that of judges and sentences and not only that of prosecutors and wiretaps, Berlusconi has committed only one crime: tax fraud, for which he was convicted with a definitive sentence. It cost him a rapid defenestration from the Senate, whose majority of the time did not miss the opportunity to resort to open scrutiny in order to sanction its incompatibility (the Knight then had full judicial rehabilitation, and was able to reapply and be elected, before in the European Parliament and then again in the Senate, where he resumed his post). Naturally the man was by no means a shin of a saint, on the contrary: he had his private and public vices and knew how to play dirty. There are those who reproached him to the last, mercilessly, like his arch-enemy Carlo De Benedetti, who even while his opponent was in the hospital with Covid wished him a happy birthday, but reiterating that for him it was pure always "a cheater".

Many stains have obscured its public life. The origin of the capital with which Berlusconi started his business as an entrepreneur is still shrouded in mystery. The use of the parliamentary majority to enact ad personam laws in order to defend oneself from trials replaced promises to reform the judicial system that were never kept. And the television empire, born with a ploy to get around the ban, the diffusion of cassettes recorded on a local TV network, was legitimized with a law decree by Craxi, his friend and witness to his wedding with Veronica Lario, who saved him from seizure ordered by three praetors.

However, as always in his life, each of these events has its twist. For example: who can deny that the end of the public monopoly on television was now mature, no longer justified by the group of parties on Rai, a factor of modernization that has changed Italy? Berlusconi grabbed the apple with unscrupulousness, and got help from those who were higher up than him at the time. But in this way, as well as his fortune, the life of the Italians also changed, especially the most isolated, elderly, poor and less educated, who were able to fill their evenings with quizzes by Mike Bongiorno and Brazilian soap operas, moreover for free, without fees .

Time and again the left has hit its head on this corner: what she found intolerable and unbearably populist in Berlusconi, simple people found admirable. The so American myth of the self-made man seduced the people, dispossessing the left. Above all Berlusconi discovered "le grand bleu" of Italian politics, the deep blue sea of ​​moderate voters, or in any case hostile to the left. Il Cavaliere, aided by the transition to the majority electoral system in 1994, managed to take over the center, on the guise of the DC, and to reunite it with Bossi's northern right and Fini's southern right. For the first time since 1876, Italy experienced the alternation. One side won the election and moved from opposition to government. Perhaps it was precisely the radical nature and partisanship of this new policy (which another friend of Berlusconi, Cesare Previti, brutally summarized with the phrase "we take no prisoners"), that caused a scandal in a country accustomed to the "union" between Cavour and Rattazzi and the "historical compromise" between Moro and Berlinguer.
Certainly Berlusconi put his own into it. He had the taste, or the impertinence, to scandalize the audience with highly politically incorrect statements, which went around the world and transformed him into a colorful character for the foreign press: like when he called Obama "tanned", alluding to the color of her skin. Or like when, in the official photo of a European summit, he made the gesture of the horns behind the back of his Spanish counterpart, like a high school student on a field trip. But he said it in Italy too. The judiciary "cancer of the country" was perhaps the most contested sentence. The speech in which he said he could not believe that "there are so many assholes around" willing to vote against him also caused a stir. He has always felt like a man whose success allowed him to rise above conventions, if not laws. The comings and goings of the «olgettine» in his private residences had, it is true, no criminal relevance, as the trials later ascertained; but the revelation of his "elegant dinners" had a notable importance in crystallizing in many a negative judgment on the statesman, who should be busy in quite other matters (besides costing him his marriage to Veronica Lario).
Yet political Berlusconi's final balance is not bad because of all the things he has threatened to do or that his opponents have accused him of having done; but rather for those that he promised and failed to deliver. The longest-serving premier in the history of the Republic left the "liberal revolution" on paper, made up of lower taxes and more growth, the promise that had brought him to government. He could not change the Constitution as he wanted, because his reform was soundly defeated in the referendum. He didn't even succeed - nor did he really ever try - to rewrite the Italian judicial system in a more guarantor sense and less dominated by the prosecutors, preferring the small cabotage of the laws "ad personam".

He has never even remotely accepted the idea of ​​building a succession, indeed cutting off the heads one by one of all the potential "dolphins", and thus presumably eventually taking his creature, Forza Italia, with him. Which, in the last years of the physical and electoral decline of the Knight, has in fact been transformed into a medieval court, where fortunes or misfortunes depend on the favors of the fiancée (the last one, Marta Fascina, has become a loving "wife", for months at her bedside), or by the ambition of the last assistant, or by the maneuvers of the last courtier. Berlusconi had everything to change Italy, consensus, success, strength, money, power; and he didn't make it.

At 86, he even hoped for not a short moment to seal his extraordinary biography by transforming it into a legend, with his election to the Quirinale. The mere fact that he dreamed it told us all about the twilight of his era. He has many alibis. And not only in the stubborn fury of the prosecutors (Milan in the lead) against him. The two tragic epochal events that shocked the world at the very beginning of his governments, the attack on the Twin Towers in 2001 and the subprime crisis in 2008, certainly held back his ambitions. But his passage in the political history of Italy has also left indelible traces: for example the bipolarity, a season dominated by him, and perhaps not by chance immediately ended as soon as he left the scene, to give space in recent years to the ancient Italian vices of transformism and majorities that change like clothes with the changing of the seasons. Not even the latest "miracle" succeeded. Once Don Verzè, founder of the San Raffaele in Milan of which he was a friend and benefactor, revealed that he had asked him "to live up to 150 years to put Italy right". He was counting on the progress of science, or perhaps he was joking about his right to immortality. He died in that same hospital at the age of 86, just two more than the national average. Confirming his nature as an "arch-Italian", of autobiography of the nation, of that Italy of which in a famous incipit he said "it is the country I love".

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