Berlusconi begins community service

By Colleen Barry
May. 9, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

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Berlusconi begins community service
MILAN, ITALY - JULY 18: Silvio Berlusconi leaves the Fondazione Sacra Famiglia on July 18, 2014 in Milan, Italy. Today Silvio Berlusconi was acquitted on appeal against the conviction for paying for sex with an underage prostitute. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waves as he leaves after a press conference on June 18, 2014 in Rome. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi leaves after a press conference on June 18, 2014 in Rome. AFP PHOTO / ANDREAS SOLARO (Photo credit should read ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - JUNE 06: President of AC Milan Silvio Berlusconi arrives at AC Milan's Casa Milan on June 6, 2014 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Journalists wait for the arrival of Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at the Catholic hospice 'Sacra Famiglia' (Holy Family Institute foundation) in Cesano Boscone where Berlusconi will begin community service for tax fraud on May 9, 2014. The billionaire tycoon, who was convicted last year and has been expelled from parliament, has been ordered to work once a week for up to a year as a volunteer in a hospice for Alzheimer's patients just outside Milan. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
A nun arrives at the Catholic hospice 'Sacra Famiglia' (Holy Family Institute foundation) in Cesano Boscone where Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will begin community service for tax fraud on May 9, 2014. The billionaire tycoon, who was convicted last year and has been expelled from parliament, has been ordered to work once a week for up to a year as a volunteer in a hospice for Alzheimer's patients just outside Milan. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi arrives at the Catholic hospice 'Sacra Famiglia' (Holy Family Institute foundation) in Cesano Boscone to begin community service for tax fraud on May 9, 2014. The billionaire tycoon, who was convicted last year and has been expelled from parliament, has been ordered to work once a week for up to a year as a volunteer in a hospice for Alzheimer's patients just outside Milan. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
A man protests against Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi near the Catholic hospice 'Sacra Famiglia' (Holy Family Institute foundation) in Cesano Boscone where Berlusconi begins community service for tax fraud on May 9, 2014. The billionaire tycoon, who was convicted last year and has been expelled from parliament, has been ordered to work once a week for up to a year as a volunteer in a hospice for Alzheimer's patients just outside Milan. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - MAY 09: A protester against Silvio Berlusconi is stopped by security in front of the Fondazione Sacra Famiglia in Cesano Bosconeon May 9, 2014 in Milan, Italy. Today Silvio Berlusconi starts his community service for tax fraud at Fondazione Sacra Famiglia in Cesano Boscone. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - MAY 09: Silvio Berlusconi arrives at Fondazione Sacra Famiglia in Cesano Bosconeon May 9, 2014 in Milan, Italy. Today Silvio Berlusconi starts his community service for tax fraud at Fondazione Sacra Famiglia in Cesano Boscone. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
Journalists wait oustside at the Catholic hospice 'Sacra Famiglia' (Holy Family Institute foundation) in Cesano Boscone before the arrival of Italian former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who will began community service for tax fraud today on May 9, 2014. The billionaire tycoon, who was convicted last year and has been expelled from parliament, has been ordered to work once a week for up to a year as a volunteer in a hospice for Alzheimer's patients just outside Milan. AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)
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CESANO BOSCONE, Italy (AP) - Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi was greeted by dozens of journalists and a lone union protester at his arrival Friday at a facility for Alzheimer's patients to begin his first four-hour community service stint as part of a tax fraud sentence

Berlusconi, dressed casually in a jacket but no tie, made no comment as he left his black sedan and was escorted inside the Alzheimer's ward of the Sacra Famiglia center by an administrator. Just after he was whisked inside, a lone protester from the Cub union yelled that the three-time former premier should be entering the nearby San Vittore prison instead of performing community service.

Berlusconi, 77, was ordered to perform four hours of community service a week for a year after his four-year sentence was reduced to one by a general amnesty. He also lost his Senate seat due to the conviction, but remains an important political force as head of his Forza Italia party. The court's order permits him flexibility to campaign for the upcoming European elections, but only in the northern Lombard region and around Rome, where he can travel from Tuesday to Thursday.

Berlusconi has promised surprises during his service - and told private radio on Thursday that he has been studying the latest treatments for Alzheimer's disease "to give nurses a way to be able to do more."

Still, Sacra Famiglia's director has said his integration into the routine will be much more gradual than Berlusconi may imagine, with a period of observation and acclimation with the needs of Alzheimer's patients for the initial sessions.

He arrives after breakfast during a period of recreation, where caregivers assist in activities that can include playing music for the patients. Lunch follows, but it is unlikely Berlusconi will help feed patients, at least at first. Then there is a period of rest, during which many patients return to their rooms.

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