More than a year ago, at the height of the Italian fiscal crisis, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was forced to resign.
And when Mario Monti was appointed to succeed him, there was a collective sigh of relief, as the Italians marked the end of an era.
He had never run for office – instead he was appointed by the president and the parliament. He was an outsider to local politics, with a solid background in the European Union halls of power, a man many thought was their only hope out of the mess.
His reform programme has helped steer Italy back from the brink but it has been a difficult period.
Although not as violent as those in Greece, angry demonstrations have taken place on the streets of Italy. Austerity measures have hit the country hard, many people losing their jobs, and some businessmen have even taken their own lives.
But Italy has managed to avoid a financial bailout and interest rates seem to have stabilised. And European leaders appear heading towards banking union which may channel aid directly to Eurozone banks and relieve governemts from carrying that aid in their financial books.
It may all sound good but it is not a done deal. German voters among others are less than happy to make yet more rescue cash available for other economies.
So will all the grand plans come together in time to maintain confidence in Italy? And will Monti's reforms continue after March elections ? He recently travelled to the Middle East, in search of investments and support.
On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, we speak to Mario Monti, Italian prime minister, the man who is running the project to save Italy.