The celebrations Saturday night were nowhere near as big as I expected. I rather naively expected people out in the streets honking their horns waving flags like they were when Italy won the World Cup in 2006. I guess under happier circumstances maybe, if it had been one of the many scandals that had engulfed Berlusconi that had made him resign then possibly it would've been a similar picture. On the TV the news was showing people in Rome celebrating, but even their celebrations didn't last very long. An event that we had been waiting years for had happened, but the circumstances surrounding the resignation meant that Italy in general wasn't in much of a mood to celebrate.
Last night Mario Monti officially accepted the post of Presidente del Consiglio. Berlusconi wasn't going anywhere in a hurry though, and before Monti appeared in front of the press to announce that he had been asked by Presidente Napolitano to form a new cabinet he spoke on TV in a video message to say, amongst other things, that he was going to double his efforts to improve Italy, and to thank the people of Italy for the "affection" that they had shown him. Monti only gave a quick speech, in which he gave his thanks for the faith shown in him, and appeared very serious, the complete opposite of his predecessor. Napolitano then spoke, saying that Italy's current situation didn't allow new elections to be held, and hoped that Monti as an independant figure, and not a politician, would be able to unite the various different parties in the Italian government.
It's still very difficult to tell what's going to happen over the next few days and weeks. A lot of people are still happy that Berlusconi's finally gone, but there's a lot of caution about the future. It's taken an event as large as the prime minister's resignation for a lot of the country to realise how serious the economic situation is. We can only hope now that Italy really can get a fresh start from all of this.