Giulio Andreotti has passed away in Rome.

He died at the age of 94. His family announced the news. For decades, he was at the center of Italian politics, serving as the Prime Minister seven times. After 50 years of public life, there won’t be a public viewing at the Senate, but a private funeral will take place this afternoon at the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome.

He was the most distinguished Italian politician: leading the government seven times, serving as a minister countless times, and garnering the most preferences in the Christian Democracy party lists. However, for his enemies, he was remembered as “Belzebub,” surrounded by a reputation of being a cynical and Machiavellian politician, a reputation he himself seemed to cultivate. For over half a century of public life, more than any other leader, Giulio Andreotti was identified as the emblem of power that arises and thrives in the shadows.

Sarcasm was his best skill – Andreotti was born in Rome on January 14, 1919. “That year, PPI Sturzo, fascism, and I were born. Out of all three, only I remained,” he boasted recently. As a young man, he was religious, studious, very serious, with a slightly hunched back and clear ideas about his future. His only diversions were attending AS Roma soccer matches (at the old Testaccio stadium) and horse races at the Capannelle racecourse.

He made his government debut at 28 – In 1946, at the age of 28, he was already an undersecretary in the presidency of the Council of Ministers, with a particular focus on the entertainment industry. Young Giulio was involved in cinema in every aspect: from censorship cuts to scripts that were not respectful of Christian morality, and public funding to support Italian productions. From those years, he was remembered for his controversy with Vittorio De Sica, accused by the young undersecretary of having done “a disservice to Italy” with his pessimistic film “Umberto D”.

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