ROME - The death of Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire playboy who for decades dominated the boys' club of Italian politics, comes at a moment that would have been difficult to envision during his testosterone-charged era: Italian women have inherited the country's political earth.
The 86-year-old media tycoon, who ruled Italy longer than any prime minister since Benito Mussolini, died Monday in Milan, leaving a legacy as a formidable politician, ruthless businessman and bulwark of old-school male chauvinism. On the campaign trail in 2008, he told women they should "cook" for his party's male representatives. He once said a female reporter's handshake was too firm for her to find a husband. He turned "bunga bunga" into a household term.