Humbled Silvio Berlusconi sheds the suit for sweatpants
Wearing what appeared to be loose-fitting sweatpants and a T-shirt rather than one of his trademark sharp suits, Silvio Berlusconi spent four hours inside a retirement home yesterday at the start of a 12-month community service sentence for tax fraud.
In contrast with other well-known personalities who have fallen from grace, the former Italian prime minister did not have to suffer the humiliation of wearing a lurid orange jumpsuit or being handed a broom with which to sweep the streets. Instead he pulled up to the gates of the Catholic Church-run Sacra Famiglia hospice in a chauffeur-driven limousine, passing the camera crews and photographers who had been waiting for him all morning.
At 77, Mr Berlusconi may be older than some of the residents, but he looked as spry as ever, with his slicked-down hair transplant and his ever-present tan.
Exactly what Mr Berlusconi did during his four-and-a-half hours inside the home, in the town of Cesano Boscone near Milan, was not clear.
The managers of the home remained silent, while the man himself, when asked on leaving the centre what the experience had been like, replied simply: "It went well," adding: "They asked me not to make any statements."
He was referring to the Italian judicial authorities, who warned the billionaire businessman that he should not use the opportunity to try to cast himself as a political martyr or regard it as a platform to campaign ahead of the EU Parliament elections this month.
A few protesters greeted his arrival at the home where he is required to spend just four hours a week. (© Daily Telegraph, London)