Italian Prime Minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi is known for, well, uncovering himself to as many young women as possible. His Villa Certosa on Sardinia (which has his own artificial volcano!) has acquired a reputation as a party spot where politicians and businessmen cavort in the nude with would-be actresses and models.
The Villa Certosa, near Olbia (Daily Mail).
Messing with younger women is an age-old pastime of male politicians. Predictable, kind of boring even. The real bombshell in D'Addario's tapes comes after Berlusconi's finishes boasting about his staying power and moves on to bragging about the opulence of his villa. Beneath the artificial lake on his property, he claims, are 30 Phoenician tombs:
After noting that the lake is adorned by a fossilised whale, Berlusconi purportedly adds: "Underneath here, we found 30 Phoenician tombs from 300BC."
This was news to the archaeological community. And sensational news, too.
A necropolis under the estate near Porto Rotondo on the Costa Smeralda would be evidence of Phoenician settlement in an area where none were thought to have been situated. Italy's National Association of Archaeologists said it would be "of the utmost importance for the study of Phoenician expansion on the island".
Of more immediate concern was why, if such an obviously important discovery had been made during the excavation of the lake, the authorities were not notified. Government officials in nearby Olbia knew nothing about it. This is a serious matter. Failure to report an archaeological find within 24 hours is an offence in Italy punishable by up to 12 months in prison.
The opposition Democratic party, which had been looking for a way to embarrass the prime minister without getting immersed in his eventful sex life, was not slow to spot the opening. Representatives in both houses of parliament tabled questions, demanding that Berlusconi and his heritage minister give an explanation.
Phoenician urn burials at Sant'Antioco, Sardinia (h/t Wandering Italy)
Frankly, I think the Italians have their priorities straight. Berlusconi certainly seems like a tasteless man in his personal life, but his behavior is hardly criminal. But taking out a whole Phoenician cemetery? If the allegations are true, that's a crime for which I would love to see him serve some time.