Francesca Pascale the ''first'' lady!

SILVIO Berlusconi's 27-year-old fiancee is being groomed for what the former Italian prime minister hopes will be her ascent to ''first lady'' as he plots an audacious return to the front line of politics.
Behind the scenes of Italy's heated political wrangling, Francesca Pascale is reported to be taking courses in ''bon ton'', to have closed her Facebook profile, undergone minor plastic surgery and changed her phone number.
She is permitted to give interviews only with the approval of Mr Berlusconi's centre-right People of Freedom party, according to Italian media.

Miss Pascale's transformation has begun ahead of the start of a campaign next month by Mr Berlusconi to be elected prime minister for a fourth time.
It remains to be seen whether Italy's mostly Catholic voters, embarrassed by Mr Berlusconi's ''bunga bunga'' party antics, are ready to embrace Miss Pascale, who is 50 years his junior.

For the past year, Italy's ''first lady'' has been Elsa Antonioli, the wife of Mario Monti, the outgoing prime minister and a reserved Red Cross volunteer and grandmother who rarely misses Mass.
Miss Pascale, the daughter of a wedding photographer who grew up in Naples, began dancing for a kitsch show on the Telecapri station when she was 14. She later left showbusiness, studied political science and became a provincial councillor for People of Freedom, but stepped down in July.
Earlier this month the billionaire media mogul confirmed their relationship on television, calling her ''beautiful on the inside and the outside''. ''Finally I feel less lonely,'' Mr Berlusconi said. ''I am engaged to a
Neapolitan, it's official.''

Miss Pascale is said to be friends with Mr Berlusconi's daughter, Marina, who is chairman of Italy's largest magazine publisher, Mondadori.
Miss Pascale met Mr Berlusconi in 2004 when she was 19. ''I followed him as if he were a rock star,'' she said in an interview in the magazine F.
Nicole Minetti, a former Anglo-Italian showgirl who once called Mr Berlusconi the ''love of my life'', was reported as saying she believes Miss Pascale would make an ''excellent first lady''.