Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Love songs ease Berlusconi pain

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

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi is penning new love songs while he recuperates after an assault which left him with a broken nose and two broken teeth.

Italian media say Mr Berlusconi, 73, is working on a new CD of songs with Mariano Apicella, a guitarist who has accompanied him on three albums before.

The pair are reported to have finished eight songs out of 12 which will appear on a CD to be released in the new year.

Mr Berlusconi is convalescing at his home in Villa San Martino, in Milan.

He spent four nights in hospital after the 13 December attack in the northern city, in which a man struck him in the face with a replica model of Milan cathedral.

Silvio Berlusconi (right) singing as Mariano Apicella plays guitar (2003 pic)
Happier times: Mr Berlusconi sometimes sings for his party guests

Since then, the billionaire prime minister has kept out of the public eye.

The new song titles include: There Is Love, But If I Lose You and Stay With Me.

Mr Berlusconi, a billionaire media mogul, worked in his youth as a cruise ship crooner. He struck up a friendship with Apicella, a Neapolitan, at the Vesuvius Hotel in Naples eight years ago.

The prime minister has had a turbulent year, marked by allegations about his friendship with a teenage model and about escort girls attending parties at his residences.

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