A large bandage covered part of the left side of his face and his nose, which was broken when a souvenir replica of Milan's cathedral was thrown at him as he mingled among a c
rowd of supporte
Massimo Tartaglia, 42, an electronics engineer, has been held in prison since the attack on Sunday
. MILAN, Italy — Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi left hospital on Thursday four days after an assault which the flamboyant leader said he hoped would lessen animosity in Italy's polarised politics.
"If, after what happened, there is a better awareness of the need for calmer and more honest language in Italian politics, this pain will not have been for naught," said the
billionaire prime minister, who suffered severe facial wounds in the assault on Sunday. Passions have run high since the attack, in parliament, in the street and on the Internet, with the left and right accusing each other of creating a "climate of hatred" that provoked the assault.
But on Thursday the flamboyant leader said his days in hospital left him feeling "loved" by the Italian people.
"I will have two memories from these days: the hatred of few and the love of many, so many Italians," he said. "Neither the violence of stones nor the worse violence of words... will prevail" in Italy.
The 73-year-old premier was hospitalized Sunday evening after he was hit in the face with a souvenir replica of Milan's Dome thrown by a 42-year-old man with mental health problems.
Berlusconi suffered a broken nose, two broken teeth and facial abrasions in the attack which took place after a political rally. His personal doctor said a couple of days ago that his conditions were critical, due to the pain provoked by the injuries and the repeated antibiotic treatment undertaken.
However, on Thursday the doctor said the premier had finally spent a "peaceful and painless" night in hospital.
Members of his staff and his doctor assured that Berlusconi was strongly willing to continue his political and governmental agenda, but that rest now was necessary and the Christmas festivities would be of help
Although Berlusconi will spend the first part of his convalescence, which doctors hope will be at least two weeks, in his Milan villa, the Swiss press reported on Thursday that he will go to a private clinic near Lugano, in the Italian Ticino Canton in Switzerland, for cosmetic surgery to erase traces of Sunday's attack..
Since Sunday's attack, thousands of supporters and fans wrote Berlusconi emails wishing him a rapid convalescence.