Page last updated at 15:55 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi leaves hospital

Silvio Berlusconi with bandages on his face, seen through a car window, as he leaves a Milan hospital.
Mr Berlusconi left hospital with bandages on his face

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has left hospital after four nights recovering from Sunday's attack which broke his nose and two teeth.

He has been advised by doctors to rest for at least two weeks and has cancelled various engagements.

He said he hoped the attack would prompt "a calmer, more honest language in Italian politics".

The attacker used a replica model of Milan cathedral to hit the prime minister as he was signing autographs.

With bandages on his nose and cheek, Mr Berlusconi waved at waiting media and onlookers as he was driven from Milan's San Raffaele Hospital in a motorcade.

A banner reading "Welcome Home" was seen at the entrance to his villa, Ansa news agency reported.

The prime minister spent several hours at his dentist's before returning to the villa, reports said.

'More serene'

The attack has sparked debate in Italy, where his political party said some websites had preached hatred for Mr Berlusconi and praised the attacker for his actions.

But Mr Berlusconi, in a statement after his release, said: "If, after what happened, there is a better awareness of the need for calmer and more honest language in Italian politics, this pain will not have been in vain.

Silvio Berlusconi's villa
Police have been on duty at Mr Berlusconi's villa near Milan

"These last days I have felt that even some political opposition leaders have come closer."

He had had a "more serene" night last night, his spokesman Paolo Bonaiuti told Italian television, and he awoke "calm".

He had been expected to be released on Wednesday, but doctors kept him in hospital for a further night after "persistent pain".

Reports said he had suffered severe headaches after the injuries caused an old neck injury to flare up.

On Wednesday, a judge remanded his alleged attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, 42, in custody.

He rejected a plea from his lawyer that he be transferred from police custody to a psychiatric hospital temporarily.

The judge said Mr Tartaglia was still capable of carrying out a similar act, Ansa reported.

Also on Wednesday, security guards on the seventh floor of the hospital where Mr Berlusconi was staying apprehended a man who said he wanted to speak to the prime minister.


Silvio Berlusconi leaves Milan's San Raffaele hospital

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Mail Online UK Silvio of the opera: Patched-up Italian premier doubles as the Phantom - 14 hrs ago
Al Jazeera Berlusconi leaves Milan hospital - 18 hrs ago
Sydney Morning Herald Berlusconi hopes attack can heal Italy's wounds - 22 hrs ago
ITN Berlusconi leaves hospital - 22 hrs ago
The Independent Italy's Berlusconi leaves hospital after assault - 23 hrs ago

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