Silvio Berlusconi was left dazed by the attack
Silvio Berlusconi will spend a second night in hospital after being attacked in Milan. He was hit in the face while signing autographs at a rally, and left with a broken nose and cuts to his face.
Italian BBC News website readers have been sending in their reaction. You can read a selection below.
SYMPATHETIC TOWARDS BERLUSCONI
It's worrying that so many Italian people are now happy because of what happened. No matter what your opinion is of our PM, if you want democracy you must condemn this attack.
Martina Giraudo, Torino, Italy
What is happening in Italy is unbelievable. The foreign press is wrong to attack Berlusconi. The Berlusconi government is working well and a great number of Italian citizens support this government. The opposition feeds a climate of hatred and violence against Berlusconi. The attack on the Italian prime minister is the natural consequence of this climate.
Francesco, Terni, Italy
Mr Berlusconi is concerned with his own interest - he is not interested in Italians or Italy. But I do condemn the violence. Violence breeds violence.
The attack was ungodly. It does raise security concerns. The attack was a big slap in the nation's face.
Don Simeon, Milan, Italy
This episode of violence appears simply to be the natural result of the strong campaign against Mr Berlusconi, including an escalation of media attacks and accusations.
Donato Polli, Perugia, Italy
I'm a peaceful person. And I'm very disappointed that Silvio Berlusconi was attacked. I hope he will get better as soon as possible. But I still don't like Mr Berlusconi and his political actions.
Adriana, Rome Italy
NOT SYMPATHETIC TOWARDS BERLUSCONI
I think that Italy is in a very serious situation and Berlusconi, along with most of the politicians, continues to play with the good faith of many Italians. What has happened is proof that people are tired and angry with our economic situation.
Laurenzi Sergio, Fabriano, Ancona, Italia
Because of Silvio Berlusconi's aggressive attacks on his political enemies in last 17 years, I think this was an act of political violence. Now the real problem is that Berlusconi is still our premier and I'm afraid that our government will use this act to increase its oppression on free citizens.
Giovanni Tortora, Bisceglie, Bari, Italy
What has happened in Milan is definitely serious. Although being protected by several security agents, this didn't prevent him from being attacked. Personally I feel totally indifferent about this. I don't like to say "he deserved it", but he had to expect it.
Giacomo, Rome, Italy
Certainly this action by a foolish person must be firmly condemned. But this incident happened within an increasingly worsening atmosphere of hatred, which Berlusconi himself is contributing to aggravate with his own words in too many recent speeches.
Giorgio Faenza, Milan, Italy
Violence has to be condemned in every situation. However, both political sides have to calm down, including Mr Berlusconi and his supporters.
Stefania Re, Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, Italy
What is appalling about the recent attack on Berlusconi is that talk shows, Parliament, and so on are not focusing on how it was possible for someone to bypass Berlusconi's security service - which is quite large, counting scores of agents - and attack him at close range, but rather blaming this or that political party for the attack.
Daniele W, Levico Terme, Italy
What is all this about? I am sorry Berlusconi got hurt, but it's got nothing to do with the Italian political situation.
Sara, Rome, Italy
I'm an Italian who has just returned to Italy after 10 years in the UK. Personally, I think ordinary Italians have mixed feelings about both the incident itself and the man. On the one hand, this is an act of violence and as such it is to be condemned. On the other hand, Berlusconi is probably THE most dividing and controversial politician ever of a major western nation.
Luigi Nicoletta, Milan, Italy
What happened has been misread by the Italian media and politicians. The attack doesn't reflect the reality of the Italian political climate. A person with mental problems hit Mr Berlusconi. Nothing remains behind this simple fact, it wasn't a premeditated act of a terrorist organisation.
Edoardo Da Ros, Milan
I don't support Silvio Berlusconi, but what happened was unacceptable: violence is NEVER the answer. But what's more unacceptable is how the right wingers are depicting the incident as a left wing attack.
Sergio Sacripanti, Roma, Italy