Berlusconi, last act of a life always at the top
MILAN – Silvio Berlusconi’s coffin traveled the 33 kilometers that separate Villa San Martino in Arcore and Piazza Duomo in Milan between two wings of the crowd that welcomed the passage of “The Knight” as one does with cycling champions, with applause and placards. In the central square of Milan, there were at least ten thousand people waiting for him, half of those estimated due to the restrictions decided at the last moment for security reasons.
AC Milan flags with the ultras chanting “A president, there is only one president!” and banners of Forza Italia, but also many ordinary people eager to pay a last respects to the former premier, the “azzurri” leader, the patron of private TVs, the president of Milan and Monza, the man both loved and hated for that “vita spericolata” (crazy life), to put it to Italian songwriter Vasco Rossi, which has inevitably placed him at the center of Italian society over the last fifty years, first as an entrepreneur, then as a politician: always in the spotlight, up until the last day, today, when Italy greeted him with national mourning, the State funerals and, above all, a no-stop live television followed on the small screen and on the web by millions of people, in Italy and around the world.
Applauses at the arrival of the coffin in the Cathedral, the square and the personalities present inside the Cathedral, including heads of state, government, representatives of national and European institutions: among others, the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni with the deputy premiers Antonio Tajani and Matteo Salvini and all the ministers, the two Presidents of the Chamber and Senate, Lorenzo Fontana and Ignazio La Russa, the leaders of some of the opposition parties (Elly Schlein of the Democratic Party and Matteo Renzi of Italia Viva ) and then, again, the former premier Mario Draghi, the great friend and old ally Umberto Bossi who arrived in a wheelchair and many others. From abroad, the Iraqi president Abdul Latif Rashid, the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, both the Captains Regent of the Republic of San Marino, Alessandro Scarano and Adele Tonnini and the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
In the front row, in tears, his daughters and sons Marina, Piersilvio, Barbara, Eleonora and Luigi, his brother Paolo, his partner Marta Fascina and his ex-wife Veronica Lario. Also present Francesca Pascale, ex girlfriend of “The Knight”, now married to the Italian singer Paola Turci.
Many well-known faces on Berlusconi’s TV channels: Maria De Filippi, dressed in white in homage to Silvio who recommended this color to blonde women “because dark clothes don’t let the light through”; Silvia Toffanin, television presenter and companion of Pier Silvio Berlusconi; and then Alba Parietti, Iva Zanicchi, Lorella Cuccarini, Belén Rodriguez, Ilary Blasy and Barbara D’Urso.
After the homily of the archbishop of the city, Monsignor Mario Delpini, entitled “Here is the man: a desire for life, for love, for happiness” (which you can read in its entirety – in Italian – by clicking here: Omelia-Funerali-Berlusconi), at the end of the ceremony the notes of ‘Silence’ resounded in the Cathedral.
Then everyone stood up to pay a last, long applause to “The Knight” inside the church and outside, in the square.
The coffin, carried on the shoulder, left the Cathedral accompanied by a long applause. In front of the coffin, as at the entrance, the pallbearer with a photo of a smiling Silvio. The daughters and sons of the former premier – who today had a touching farewell message to their “dolcissimo papà” (sweet dad) published in all the Italian newspapers – watched the coffin and came out in tears, while his partner Marta Fascina threw kisses at the coffin for a last goodbye.
Then, another thunderous applause from the square, which then sang the Italian anthem.
The highest offices of the State – the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the two Presidents of the Chamber and Senate – joined Berlusconi’s daughters and sons outside to offer condolences. Gathered near the coffin for a final farewell, Berlusconi’s family members thanked the crowd who gave the leader a long round of applause. Barbara and Luigi in particular, filmed on TV, with folded hands, repeatedly said ‘thank you’ to all the people who arrived in the square to bid farewell to the president of Forza Italia.
Shortly afterwards, the coffin left the square for Villa San Martino: Silvio Berlusconi, after being cremated, will rest in the mausoleum built in Arcore by Pietro Cascella, one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century, a friend of “The Knight” who commissioned him works at the end of the 90s, telling him: “Don’t make me a mortuary thing, with crosses, skulls and all that cemetery paraphernalia…”. The sculptor replied: “Let’s think of the sky above” and he created “The Heavenly Vault” for him. A life always at the top. Even in death.
In the pics above: the coffin in Milan’s Duomo (photo: www.quirinale.it) and, in the box, Silvio Berlusconi in a significant photo that has gone viral on social networks