Last week it was Silvio Berlusconi who got into hot water for praising Mussolini. This week it's the former premier's younger brother who has sparked outrage - by calling an Italian superstar soccer player of African descent the family's ''little black boy.''
In a much viewed video clip, Paolo Berlusconi told a crowd of supporters Sunday that he was off to the soccer stadium to see Mario Balotelli, a prolific striker recently acquired by the brothers' AC Milan soccer team - calling him by an insulting and patronizing term for black people.
Italy has had a particularly acute problem with racism in soccer, with monkey chants against black players a relatively common occurrence. Paolo Berlusconi's racist quip in Milan ("Now, let's go see the family's little black boy, the hot head'') provoked chuckles among the friendly crowd, although scathing comments soon flooded the Internet.
While the brothers' comments have caused international bafflement, there may be a political element.