A 28-year-old bricklayer has gained cult status among ordinary Italians after he threw a camera tripod at the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, on New Year's Eve, leaving him with a bruise at the back of his head.
Roberto dal Bosco told journalists he could not stop himself when he saw Berlusconi out for an impromptu walk-about in Rome's Piazza Navona square.
Ordinary Italians have seized on the bricklayer as a Che Guevara of their times, celebrating his act with a flurry of tripod related jokes, doctored Internet images, e-mails and songs.
"Half of Italy would have liked to do what [dal Bosco] did, maybe worse," wrote one Web site fan, according to Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Seasonal text and e-mail messages whirled around Italy saying things like "Greetings! This is the year of the tripod;" "Glory in heaven and comprehension on Earth to willing tripod maniacs;" and "More tripods for all."
Dal Bosco has returned to his home town near Mantua in northern Italy after a night in prison in Rome. He has been ordered to report to local police twice a day.