Explaining the Italian system of mass communication to international audiences is no easy task. This is because of several anomalies which make Italy significantly different from many other countries, and because the mass media system reflects these anomalies and it is organised in a totally original and very different way from other countries. Nor is it easy to answer a question which has often been put to me by my foreign colleagues: how has former Prime Minister and media entrepreneur Silvio Berlusconi managed to become such an important figure in Italian history? How did his networks emerge? What kind of relationship did he have with the world of politics? Has television been important in determining his success?