2010-2011: The bunga-bunga years
Berlusconi was hit with an investigation into his bacchanalian "bunga-bunga" parties and his relationship with a teenage Moroccan nightclub dancer named Karima el-Mahroug. He went on trial for paying for sex with an underage girl and abusing his power and, separately, for tax fraud. What's more, Berlusconi began to face a marathon of confidence votes on austerity measures designed to keep Italy from falling victim to the European debt crisis. All these problems prompted former ally Gianfranco Fini to split with Berlusconi and call for his resignation, and for other high-profile members of Berlusconi's coalition to follow suit. The BBC's Duncan Kennedy speculated at the end of 2010 that the Lario divorce might have marked the beginning of the end for Berlusconi -- the point at which "historians will conclude that the rot set in."
Above, Christmas figurines on sale in Naples in Nov. 2010 show Berlusconi as a caveman in underwear.
Carlo Hermann/AFP/Getty Images