Souvenir that hit Berlusconi becomes cult item


Massimo Tartaglia, a 42-year-old electrical engineer, allegedly used a souvenir replica of the cathedral to strike Berlusconi.
The souvenir has become an instant hit with tourists and residents and is reportedly selling out across the city.
Berlusconi was recovering in San Raffaele hospital Monday with two broken teeth, a broken nose and other facial injuries and was expected to remain there for at least another day.
The souvenir, a 10 centimetre replica of Milan's landmark cathedral, was in demand at newspaper stalls and tourist trinket stands.
The replica is sold throughout the city, and especially in the area surrounding the Duomo, where Berlusconi was attacked soon after giving a speech at a political rally.
Street vendors said curious tourists were not only buying the replicas but many were also taking photos of the souvenirs.
"There is so much curiosity. There is a continuous influx of people asking us to give them more information," one vendor said.
"We have sold more statues than before, and although it's not an extremely sharp rise in sales, many people are coming just to see the souvenir."
The model based on the Gothic cathedral which was begun in 1386, costs 12 euros.
Although it is not particularly heavy, the replica model has all the pointy spires of the cathedral that give the Duomo its distinctive style. It is the fourth largest cathedral in the world.
Questions are still being asked about how Tartaglia was able get close enough to the premier to strike him in the face.
Media mogul Berlusconi has a number of bodyguards, some from the police, special forces and others from his own company Fininvest.
It is not the first time that Berlusconi has been assaulted in public. He was attacked on one of Rome's famous landmarks, Piazza Navona, on New Years Eve 2004 by a man who threw a camera tripod at him.

--IANS/AKI
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