Erotic parties over in Italy as Monti goes low key
ROME - Agence France-Presse
In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 file photo, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi sits between Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo, right, and Tourism Minister Michela Vittoria Brambilla, at the Lower Chamber, in Rome. AP photoThe era of erotic parties in Italy's palaces of power is over: accused of excesses reminiscent of his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi, Premier Mario Monti said his New Year's Eve do was a homely affair.
Senator Roberto Calderoli -- a member of the right-wing Northern League party known for his provocative comments -- accused Monti of celebrating at the state's cost while Italy slides towards recession, and called on him to resign.
With his distinctive dry humour, Monti thanked Calderoli for raising the matter and proceeded to offer a break-down of the humble family dinner.
In a far cry from Berlusconi's wild dinner parties, where young starlets allegedly aroused the ageing former premier in exchange for gifts, Monti said he held an intimate dinner with family members and food prepared by his wife.
"It was a simple dinner of a private nature... with Mario Monti and his wife, their son, daughter and respective partners, Mrs. Monti's sister with her husband and four children aged between one and six," he said in a statement.
The guests, who stayed in a nearby hotel "at their own cost," enjoyed a traditional dinner of tortellini, lentils with boiled sausage and cake -- which Mrs. Monti had personally popped out to purchase with her own money, he said.
Though his wife served dinner -- saving on the cost of hiring waiters -- Monti said he "could not exclude that the higher number of diners (10 guests) could mean a slightly higher consumption of electricity, gas and water costs." "The evening's costs were covered personally by Mario Monti who, as the interrogator will remember, has renounced his salary for the roles of prime minister and finance minister," he added.