Berlusconi Reportedly Rekindles Old Passion of Writing Love Songs

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has returned to an old passion of his while recovering from last month's attack at a rally: writing Neapolitan love songs, news reports said.

Berlusconi also made his first public appearance since the Dec. 13 attack, going to a shopping mall close to his villa in Milan, Corriere della Sera and other Italian newspapers said Friday. The reports said the premier spent about two hours in the mall on Thursday afternoon before going back to his villa to host a New Year's Eve dinner party.

During the attack, a mentally unstable man threw a souvenir statuette of Milan's cathedral at Berlusconi's face, breaking his nose and two of his teeth. The 73-year-old leader was hospitalized for a few days and had remained away from the public.

La Stampa and other newspapers said Thursday that Berlusconi is working on a new CD of love songs with Neapolitan composer Mariano Apicella. La Stampa said that so far eight songs have been composed. The pair have worked together in the past, with Berlusconi composing the lyrics of songs in previous CDs of Neapolitan ballads.

Nobody was immediately available in the premier's office to confirm the news reports.

Berlusconi often has said he likes to stay up at night to compose Neapolitan love songs. As a young man — before he became a media mogul and, later, a politician — Berlusconi used to sing on a cruise ship.