Without a funeral chapel in the Mediaset studios for reasons of public order, dozens of Berlusconi followers have been hanging around the Villa de San Martino de Arcore since yesterday, the official residence of the former Italian prime minister on the northern outskirts of Milan. Some are part of his 20,000 employees – he preferred to call them “collaborators” – others are fans of Milan or Monza, the football teams he bought during his life; or simply admirers who want to pay tribute to the businessman and politician who died this Monday at the age of 86.
Like Franca and Alberta, two retirees aged 78 and 77, who left a letter with tears in their eyes. They have always voted for him, even during his most turbulent times of sexual and judicial scandals. “Those who attacked him were unworthy people,” they defend, without hesitation. “He was a wonderful person, who saw beyond the horizon, who loved everyone. She is in our hearts, I can’t say more, ”said the first, with a broken voice, before a banner with the face of the founder of Forza Italia. “Before it was a jungle. We felt safer with him.”
The Villa de Arcore is much more than a sumptuous mansion of a billionaire. It is the headquarters from where Berlusconi ran his political, media and business empire, valued at 6,000 million euros, where he treasured the trophies of the rossonero club or recorded his last electoral spots warning against the dangers of the return of communism. Also one of the scenes of his sordid sexual bacchanalia, better known as “bunga-bunga” parties. The Moroccan Karima El Mahroug, better known as “Ruby Robacorazones”, a regular at these evenings, has preferred the discretion of social networks to say goodbye to her. “Goodbye, President,” she posted, along with an icon of a broken heart.
In front of the main gates of the town they have placed Milan scarves, Forza Italia flags, flowers or a large banner with the writing: “Goodbye, Silvio, protect us from up there”. “Thank you for the enthusiasm you have given us,” read another. Inside is the private wake reserved for the closest relatives and those close to them, beginning with the magnate’s five children, Marina and Pier Silvio, the result of his first marriage to Elvira dall’Oglio, and Barbara, Eleonora and Luigi, from his second marriage to Veronica Lario, heirs to the empire valued at 6,000 million euros that Berlusconi amassed over the years through the Fininvest holding company. “Tajani is coming”, warned an Italian reporter, about Berlusconi’s number two in Forza Italia, the Foreign Minister, who has anticipated the return of an official trip to the US due to the news of his death.
Dozens of journalists have been concentrated since yesterday afternoon in front of these billboards hoping to identify the occupants of the cars that enter and leave a bastion surrounded by mysteries. Some say they have seen Angela della Morte, mother of the “woman” of Il Cavaliere, whose name has caused the occasional grimace among chroniclers. His last partner, the deputy Marta Fascina, whom he was older than half a century, did not separate from him for a minute during his last hospitalizations. It will be very interesting to know what the Caiman has left for “his Marta of him”, who in recent times became the guardian who controlled all the information that came out of Arcore.
Until his death, Berlusconi held 61% of Fininvest’s shares, his two eldest sons 7.6% each and the three youngest 21.4% together. But he always favored the offspring born of Dall’Oglio, who today has dedicated an obituary note to him in the newspaper. He entrusted Fininvest’s guidance to Marina, his right eye. He placed Pier Silvio in charge of Mediaset, today converted into the European conglomerate MFE based in the Netherlands. The logical thing would be for this scheme to be repeated in the will that will be known in the coming days.
This villa is also the place where, in the 1990s, he had the sculptor Pietro Cascella build a huge mausoleum in carrara marble. If in his residence in Sardinia he had an artificial volcano to liven up his parties, this time he was inspired by the tombs of Hadrian or Tutankhamun, where he wanted to be buried. From the outside it is impossible to see, but there are several testimonies that tell of its existence, underground and with a vault that represents the celestial dome. He has two sarcophagi, Cascella said: one to be buried himself, and another with about thirty empty tombs for his relatives and collaborators, whom he tempted with the honor of resting here for eternity. In fact, he offered it to the famous journalist Indro Montanelli, who responded with a memorable Latin phrase: “Num sum dignus” (I am not worthy).
But most likely they will all remain empty. The mayor of Arcore has already advanced to the Italian media that a burial here will be impossible, after the state funeral to be held tomorrow at the Duomo in Milan, for legal reasons, and not even Berlusconi’s parents rest in this pantheon. “Unfortunately I did not have the honor of meeting him, but whoever has done it well knows that there is no other like it,” said Federica, a voter who has brought her young children to see the tributes. “What about the sex parties? It’s her private life, the others do it too but they don’t say it,” she pointed out, heavily made up for the occasion. It’s the first time I’ve worn flowers like this but I couldn’t do anything else, I admire him too much”.