|Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities|
May 8, 2008 – March 23, 2011
|Prime Minister||Silvio Berlusconi|
|Preceded by||Francesco Rutelli|
|Succeeded by||Giancarlo Galan|
May 14, 1959 |
Fivizzano, Massa-Carrara, Italy
|Political party||Forza Italia (2013-present)|
|Italian Communist Party (until 1991)
Forza Italia (1994-2009)
The People of Freedom (2009-2013)
|Alma mater||University of Pisa|
Bondi was born in Fivizzano, province of Massa-Carrara, Italy. He first attended school at Lausanne, where his emigrant father had settled. The family later returned to Italy and at a young age Sandro joined the Italian Communist Youth Federation, soon becoming its secretary in Lunigiana. He gained a laurea in philosophy from the University of Pisa with a dissertation on Leonardo Valazzana, precursor of the Augustinian order and opponent of Girolamo Savonarola.
A Catholic democrat, he campaigned for the Italian Communist Party, and was elected mayor of Fivizzano in 1990. In 1992 the town council led by him was overturned by the local Socialist Party, in association with Christian Democracy. Activists already playfully compared him to a ravanello (radish): that is, red on the outside but white on the inside. Following these events he left the PCI.
Subsequently getting to know Silvio Berlusconi via the sculptor Pietro Cascella, he became Berlusconi's secretary, collaborator and faithful advisor, so much so that - for Berlusconi's 2001 campaign - he was given the task of quickly coordinating the compilation of Una storia italiana (An Italian Story), a book of photographs on Berlusconi's public and private life, as electoral propaganda for future elections (as used by all Italian families).
Bondi returned the great trust accorded him by Berlusconi by over the years becoming one of his main supporters, publicly proclaiming his devotion and fidelity to him on several occasions, as well as in poems he composed and read on television programmes, which were a major target for his critics and for satirists.
In the 2001 general election he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for Berlusconi's Forza Italia party in the III circoscrizione (Lombardia 1). In the campaign for the 2005 regional elections he organised the party's communications and was the same year named the party's coordinator. In the 2006 general election he was re-elected to the Chamber, elected from the results of circoscrizione XX (Campania 2). In the meantime he collaborated with Vanity Fair on a poetry page. In summer 2006 he published his latest sayings under the title "Laici e credenti: una fede comune".
In the course of the 2008 general election he participated in hustings in several Italian towns, as well as one in teatro Fenaroli in the city of Lanciano, where he declared that he did not wish to leave Berlusconi alone in government, as had been done in the past, thus leaving an invitation for all to lean on and encourage him. In the 2008 election, he was a People of Freedom candidate for Senate for the Tuscany region, as well as a centre-right candidate for president of the Province of Massa-Carrara. He was elected to the Senate, and he reached the second ballot for the provincial presidency with Osvaldo Angeli (candidate for the centre-left Democratic Party), which Angeli then won with 55.4% of the vote, against Bondi's 46%.
In 2008 he was made Culture minister in the Berlusconi IV Cabinet, relinquishing his post as national co-ordinator of Forza Italia to Denis Verdini. He still holds this ministry, and during his tenure of it he has announced the appointment of a special commissioner for the ruins at Pompeii and been censured for criticising modern art and architecture.
- Hooper, John (5 July 2008). "Italy declares Pompeii a state of emergency". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- Kington, Tom (13 August 2008). "I just don't get modern art, says Italy's culture minister". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- (Italian) Biography on the Forza Italia website