Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, has suffered a broken nose and lost two of his teeth after being attacked at a rally in Milan.
The injuries came after a man struck Berlusconi in the face with a souvenir statue of the Italian city's gothic cathedral Duomo as he left the main square on Sunday evening.
With blood splattered across his face, aides bundled Berlusconi into a car and rushed him from the scene in the northern industrial city.
The 73-year-old prime minister was taken to the San Raffaele hospital where medics said he also had cuts to his lip requiring stitches and bruises.
Paolo Klun, the hospital's chief spokesman, said Berlusconi was "very shaken and demoralised ... He didn't understand very well what happened to him".
"He wanted to go home right away, but he is being held as a precaution," Klun said.
"I'm fine, I'm fine," the billionaire prime minister later told the ANSA news agency.
A 42-year-old man who had a 10-year history of mental problems, was arrested following the attack, police said.
Scuffles had broken out after about 10 people jeered Berlusconi at the rally of his People of Freedom party, calling him a "clown".
He shouted back; "Shame on you!" and drowned out their heckling with the help of the sound system.
The attack comes at the end of a difficult year for the controversial prime minister.
His popularity recently plummeted after accusations of sexual encounters with escorts, a separation from his wife, the loss of immunity prosecution and the re-start of two corruption trials.
On Friday in Milan, one corruption trial in which Berlusconi is accused was adjourned until January 15.
The prime minister faces allegations that he paid his British former tax lawyer, David Mills, $600,000 to give false evidence in two trials in the 1990s.
Mills, who was tried separately, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail over the case in February.
Earlier this month, about 350,000 Italians called for his resignation in what they dubbed the "No Berlusconi Day".
In 2004, an Italian bricklayer hurled a camera tripod at Berlusconi, injuring him slightly on the head.