Berlusconi uses his summer break to make Christmas CD

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The Independent Online

Silvio Berlusconi has once again put his summer holiday in Sardinia to good use, slamming the door temporarily on Italy's teeming problems to collaborate on another collection of Neapolitan love songs with his favourite singer and guitarist, Mariano Apicella.

Apicella, 44, who has been the Italian Prime Minister's regular and faithful summer accompanist since the two met in 2001, said that the CD contains 14 songs, with words by Mr Berlusconi and music by himself. He hopes it will be released in time for Christmas – "but the Prime Minister has many other commitments, so that may not be possible". Its title has yet to be made public.

The CD will be their third collaboration. The first, Meglio 'na canzone (Better a song), was released in 2003, during Mr Berlusconi's second term as premier. A second disc, L'ultimo amore (The last love), was released in 2006.

Although Mr Berlusconi, 71, worked as a crooner on cruise ships to pay his way through university, he does not sing any of the songs. He has kept a low profile at his villa with his wife, Veronica, and family, interrupted only by a visit last week from Roman Abramovich and, it is reported, long chats with his friend Vladimir Putin.