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It’s Official: Sandro Bondi Replaces Rutelli as Italian Culture Minister

Italian Culture Minister Sandro Bondi

What I foretold here (thanks to a helpful tip from Louis Godart) has now officially come to pass: Sandro Bondi has been named by the new Berlusconi government to replace The Great Repatriator, Francesco Rutelli, as Italy’s minister of culture. (Above is his official portrait on the Ministry of Culture’s website.) In addition to being head of Forza Italia, the political party of the recently elected prime minister, Bondi is a senator.

Here’s his biography, as published yesterday by ANSA, the Italian news agency. Well connected politically, Bondi only has one cultural credential mentioned here. He is a published poet:

The son of a Socialist lumberjack who was forced to find
work in Switzerland, Bondi, 49, is a former Communist and
trade unionist who met Berlusconi through the sculptor who
designed the premier’s mausoleum.

He became a fervent acolyte of the charismatic mogul and
has served as lightning rod for criticism of his boss in his
role as Forza Italia spokesman.

He claims to appreciate the many satirical imitators of his
priest-like style of dealing with journalists.
Bondi is one of Berlusconi’s closest aides and biggest fans
but is still so in awe of his boss that he addresses him in
the formal ‘Lei’ rather than the familiar ‘tu’ form.
An ex-journalist and published poet, Bondi is proud of his
humble background but even prouder of Berlusconi, to whom he
has devoted many of the semi-serious poems that have gained a
cult following in the Italian edition of Vanity Fair.

A philosophy graduate whose thesis was about an Augustinian
preacher, Bondi is a devout Catholic whose books include
“Secularists and Believers, a Common Faith” (2006) and
“Forgiving God” (2007).
He has a fear of heights and hates flying.

“Hates flying?” Does that mean he won’t be following in the footsteps of his predecessor, who winged across the Atlantic to major American museums in order to formalize restitutions and compensatory loans?

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