Skip to main content

Italy's Berlusconi released from hospital

Silvio Berlusconi pulls away from hospital in Milan after four days of treatment.
Silvio Berlusconi pulls away from hospital in Milan after four days of treatment.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Berlusconi leaves hospital and heads for private residence to convalesce
  • Doctors tell him to avoid public appearances for up to 15 days
  • Berlusconi vows that "neither violence nor stones" will prevail in Italian politics
RELATED TOPICS
  • Silvio Berlusconi
  • Italy
  • Milan

Rome, Italy (CNN) -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was released from hospital Thursday, four days after an attacker threw a souvenir replica of a cathedral at him, fracturing his nose, knocking out two teeth and causing heavy bleeding.

He will stay at his personal residence -- Villa San Martino in Arcore, outside Milan -- and is not expected to make any public appearances for 10 to 15 days, on his doctor's advice.

He stopped at his dentist on his way home for dental reconstruction to repair the two teeth that were broken in the attack, said Roberto Gasparotti of Berlusconi's press office.

"Two things I will keep as a memory of these days: the hatred of a few and the love of many, so many Italians," Berlusconi said in a statement released by his office. TV footage showed him leaving the hospital and later greeting well-wishers before going into the villa.

He vowed that "neither violence nor stones" would prevail in Italian politics, adding that "if what happened results in a better understanding of the need for a more toned-down language and a more honest tone in the Italian politics, then this pain will not have been in vain."

It is not clear that the attack was politically motivated. Berlusconi and his allies have repeatedly attributed it to "hatred."

The suspected attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, 42, has a history of mental illness, according to Milan police. He was arrested shortly after the attack and is now in a Milan prison.

Berlusconi's hospital stay had been extended several times, most recently because of his difficulty eating and ongoing pain, according to his personal physician, Dr. Alberto Zangrillo.

"Having said this, the clinical conditions of the prime minister are reassuring. We are reassured, not worried," Zangrillo said Wednesday.

He also said Berlusconi, 73, would not participate in public events for 10 to 15 days after his release.

A man tried to enter Berlusconi's hospital ward overnight and was detained, police said Wednesday. No further details about him were available.

Berlusconi spokesman Paolo Bonaiuti said Wednesday that Berlusconi's unease was partially due to his enforced absence from work.

"All his life he has been a very hard-working man. To try to keep him still, to keep him off work, is a titanic task," Bonaiuti said.

Berlusconi suffered broken teeth and a fractured nose in the Sunday attack, in which a man threw a souvenir replica of Milan's cathedral at him and hit him in the face.

Zangrillo said he doesn't believe Berlusconi will suffer permanent scars and that his teeth can be reconstructed.

Berlusconi's recovery will take another 25 days, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni told Italy's Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament.

Police found Tartaglia was carrying other objects, including pepper spray and a large crucifix in his pockets, which showed the attack was premeditated, Maroni said. Tartaglia had bought the replica of the Duomo di Milano, the city's central cathedral, at a souvenir shop, he said.

Tartaglia attacked Berlusconi "because he harbored hatred against the premier," Maroni said.

There has been a climate of hatred against Berlusconi in recent months, the interior minister said, with many anti-Berlusconi Web pages. Maroni said he is thinking of introducing regulations to block them.

His words echoed those of Senate speaker Renato Schifani, who visited Berlusconi in the hospital Monday and said he was pained by the "hatred" that led to the attack. Berlusconi, a conservative media mogul-turned-politician, has been dogged by allegations of corruption and is the middle of a messy divorce from his second wife.

The three-term prime minister faces trial on tax fraud charges after Italy's top court struck down an immunity law that shielded him from prosecution. He denies the charges, calling them politically motivated.

His wife of 19 years, Veronica Lario, filed for divorce in May after allegations that an Italian businessman hired escorts for the premier and that Berlusconi had attended the birthday party for an 18-year-old girl, with whom he has denied having an inappropriate relationship.

Berlusconi remains popular among the Italian public, however, with his approval ratings holding well over 50 percent. He won a third term in 2008, and his conservative coalition has control of both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

-- CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report.