Giulio Andreotti, who has died aged 94, was the ultimate insider of Italian political life. For half a century he was at the heart of power. His tenure at the highest echelons of government was unequalled in Europe. From the early 1960s to the early 90s, he was – almost uninterruptedly – either prime minister or a senior minister.
Andreotti was in all but six of the 45 governments that ran from May 1947 to April 1992, led seven of them and, at various times, was the minister of defence, foreign affairs (five times), finance, treasury, and interior. He held the post of prime minister for longer than any other postwar Italian politician except Silvio Berlusconi, yet he never led the Christian Democratic party.
His tenacity in remaining at the centre of affairs became a source of fascination in itself. Just as Julius Caesar had become Divo Giulio, the god Julius, so the makers