The billionaire tycoon turned politician became prime minister again in May 2001 - a post he had held in 1994-96.
In 2003 he faced stiff opposition at home over his support for the US-led war in Iraq.
Mr Berlusconi acknowledged in January 2004 that he had had cosmetic surgery, but said it was only under the eyes.
He sported a bandanna during a visit by the Blairs to his luxury Sardinia villa in August 2004 - and later expressed joy over his hair transplant.
In 2004 the party he founded - Forza Italia (Go Italy) - marked 10 years since its first victory.
He was not only a firm ally of the US - he also enjoyed a relaxing stay with the Putins on the Black Sea in August 2005.
Franco-Italian trade tensions did not spoil Mr Berlusconi's fun with French President Jacques Chirac at an EU summit in Brussels in March 2006.
During the 2006 election campaign the Left attacked his unfulfilled pledges to revive the economy.
An election official chided him for showing his mother Rosa, 95, where to put a cross on the ballot paper.
He took a long time to admit defeat after his arch-rival Romano Prodi won the narrowest of victories. It followed an acrimonious campaign marked by insults.