Silvio Berlusconi was a prominent figure in Italian politics for over two decades. A media tycoon who became prime minister, Berlusconi left a mark on popular culture in Italy that persists to this day. However, his coarseness, constant legal troubles, and questionable political practices damaged Italy's reputation and set a troubling precedent for the future.

Berlusconi built his fortune through a variety of businesses, including media and real estate. In the 1980s, he founded Canale 5, a private television network that quickly became one of the most popular in Italy. He also diversified into financial services, publishing, and property development. By the early 1990s, Berlusconi was one of the wealthiest men in Italy, with a net worth of around $6 billion.

Berlusconi entered politics in 1994, running for prime minister on a platform of reducing bureaucracy and cutting taxes. He won a narrow victory in the general election and went on to serve three terms as prime minister. During his time in office, Berlusconi implemented some significant economic reforms but also faced frequent allegations of corruption and conflict of interest.

Berlusconi's tenure as prime minister was marred by a series of scandals that highlighted his