ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Berlusconi's greatest gaffes

Did someone say 'bunga bunga'?

Berlusconi's greatest gaffes
Danielle de Wolfe
07 November 2011

It's been a few days coming but finally Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has announced his resignation.

Berlusconi was asked to step aside amid fears that the Italian economy, the third largest in Europe, was headed the same way as Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

Since Berlusconi returned to power in 2008, he has been dogged by political scandal and is famed for his at times ridiculous, and now notorious, gaffes.

Customarily, we'd make a few gags ourselves here, but in this case we'll let Berlusconi's work do all the talking. From insulting Obama to upsetting the Queen, we've compiled some of his best/worst quotes and videos.

JUNE 2003: "One citizen is equal to another (in the eyes of the law) but perhaps this one is slightly more equal than the others, given that 50 percent of Italians have given him the responsibility of governing the country," Berlusconi referring to himself, during an appearance at his corruption trial in Milan.

11 SEPTEMBER 2003: Speaking about Mussolini (right): “Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini used to send people on holiday to confine them.”

24 SEPTEMBER 2003: At the New York Stock Exchange, he told US businessmen to invest in Italy because they have “beautiful secretaries… superb girls.”

8 MARCH 2006: At a rally during the 2006 election campaign: “Read the black book of communism and you will discover that in the did not eat children, but had them boiled to fertilise the fields.”

5 JANUARY 2007: Berlusconi said to a former showgirl and men’s magazine model, Mara Carfagna: “I’d go anywhere with you, even to a desert island. If I weren’t already married, I would marry you straight away.”

His wife, Veronica Lario, reacted by writing a letter published on the front page of La Repubblica newspaper calling for a public apology. She duly received one. Berlusconi later made Miss Carfagna his equal opportunities minister

APRIL 2009: After an earthquake in the central Abruzzo region Berlusconi said to survivors of the quake that they should see it "like a weekend of camping."

4 JANUARY 2009: Berlusconi caused outrage by saying that although he was considering deploying 30,000 troops to Italy’s cities, there would never be enough soldiers to protect Italy’s many “beautiful girls” from rape.

Berlusconi said his comments were meant as a compliment to Italian women. He said rape was a serious crime, nevertheless people should not forget their good sense of humour where his comments are concerned.

1 APRIL 2009: After an earthquake in Italy made 17,000 homeless, he told German N-TV: “Of course, their current lodgings are a bit temporary, but they should see it like a weekend of camping.”

4 OCTOBER 2010: The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano criticised him for telling a ‘deplorable’ Jewish joke. The joke was about a Jew who charged a fellow Jew to hide in his basement during the Second World War. The punchline was: “The Jew says, the question now is whether we should tell him Hitler is dead and the war is over.”

2 NOVEMBER 2010: At a motorcycle industry show in Milan: “I work extremely hard and if every now and then I look at the face of a beautiful girl then it’s better to be passionate about beautiful girls than gay.”

(Via The Telegraph, Reuters, ShortList and YouTube)

(Main image: Rex Features)