Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's private conversations with an escort, which have riveted Italians all week, may wind up getting him into trouble with Italy's archaeological authorities.
In one of the transcripts of his purported conversations with Patrizia D'Addario posted on an Italian website, Berlusconi boasts to her about his sprawling villa in Sardinia -- complete with an ice cream parlor and artificial lakes, according to Reuters.
The recordings allege Mr Berlusconi told escort Patrizia D'Addario of 30 Phoenician tombs at his Sardinia villa. The tombs date from 300BC, a man said to be Mr Berlusconi was heard saying. But officials say there is no record of him reporting any finds - a legal requirement for all Italians - and opposition MPs have called for a probe.
Finding a collection of tombs from the Phoenician era would be of major archaeological significance, opponents of Mr Berlusconi said. Under Italian law archaeological discoveries made on private property must be reported to the authorities for inspection, informs BBC News.
Silvio Berlusconi will likely survive the sex scandal involving a high- priced prostitute that is dominating the Internet, front pages and espresso-bar conversations in a nation that made a hero of Latin lover Giacomo Casanova, political analysts say.
“I’m no saint,” Berlusconi, 72, said July 22. A month ago, he responded to reports about his ties to other women by saying that “Italians like me the way I am.”
Berlusconi, serving his third term as prime minister, may benefit from his role as the glue holding his coalition together with almost four years left in his mandate. His chances of political survival are also helped by an opposition weakened by infighting and without any clear leader, informs Bloomberg.
Flirtation with Turkey turned out to be disastrous for Russia, but as long as Russia is in the game, the stakes should be high