Silvio Berlusconi started community service at a care home for the elderly near Milan.
Four hours a week he will work with elderly dementia patients.
The cameras were present as the billionaire began his year of community service.
The former prime minister’s prison sentence for tax fraud was commuted to community service. For some there was a sense of public humiliation.
“It’s something unique: a former prime minister, a three-time prime minister who ends up doing community service following the court verdict. Honestly I have never covered such an event, it is the first time,” one international journalist outside the care home explained.
The former prime minister chose community service over house arrest in order to continue campaigning for his party in the European elections.
A trade unionist dressed as a clown was held back as he tried to approach Berlusconi.
“I want to tell Berlusconi, that we, Italian workers, have a dream in our heart: Berlusconi inside San Vittore jail, Berlusconi to San Vittore,” shouted Pippo Fiorito
The 77-year-old was spared prison as the Italian legal system is lenient to the over-70s. The billionaire has been embroiled in a string of court cases. He has always denied the charges against him, accusing left-wing judges of a witch-hunt.