An Italian newspaper has revealed that Silvio Berlusconi--the country's scandal-prone but remarkably resilient prime minister--personally spent $47 million in 2010, including, by The Daily's calculation, almost a million dollars to decorate his castle in Northern Italy and a quarter of a million in cash and gifts to young women.
One of the most eyebrow-raising figures, however, is the $166,000 Berlusconi managed to spend on ties from the designer Marinella. As with all big numbers, some perspective is helpful. During the 2008 presidential campaign, you may remember, a mini-controversy erupted when Politico reported that the Republican National Committee had spent more than $150,000 in September on clothing, hair, and makeup for vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family. Now, the RNC spent that money in the course of one month, while Berlusconi needed a whole year to purchase $166,000 worth of ties. But still, you have to hand it to Berlusconi: that's a lot of money for just ties.
Just in case you're interested, The Daily Mail tells us that Berlusconi's preferred style for ties "is coloured spots over a dark background, usually navy or black."