The Berlusconi Show
The political drama that has gripped Italy for weeks now has a date in the diary. It is 6 April. That is the day that judges have ordered Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on charges that he had sex with an underage prostitute and abused his position to help her.
A judge has looked at the evidence and believes it is strong enough to support a fast-track trial.
It would be entirely out of character for Silvio Berlusconi not to fight.
In almost any other European country a prime minister would be expected to resign. Even if he or she were totally innocent there would be pressure to spare the country shame.
Shame, it is fair to say, will not drive Mr Berlusconi from office. Others say it will a huge distraction while Italy struggles with a faltering economy and thousands of immigrants heading for its shores.
His lawyers almost certainly will now start an epic battle with the judges. They will claim the magistracy has exceeded its powers in wire-tapping associates of the prime minister. Legal challenges may yet postpone the court date.
Secondly - and this has started already - Mr Berlusconi and some of his closest political allies will denounce this as a form of political assassination launched by a left-wing judiciary.
They will claim that judges are trying to overturn the wishes of voters. Italy could yet face a struggle over who runs Italy: its elected politicians or its judges. That is how Silvio Berlusconi would like the battle defined.
If the prime minister retains support within his own party and most importantly the backing of the Northern League then he can fight on.
The views of the public are less certain. There are indications that the public is tiring of the Berlusconi show with its parade of models, escorts, wannabees. His poll ratings which have held up remarkably well are slipping. Many Italians say the stories of sex-parties are damaging the standing of the country.
Women are finding their voice. They were on the streets at the weekend. In a strange twist of irony some said they had been inspired by the protests in Egypt and Tunisia. Some believe that Mr Berlusconi has corrupted a culture; that the message has been sold to a whole generation of women that success comes from looking like what Italians call a show-girl.
Whether these street protests can gather strength to the point they force the prime minister from office is doubtful. He, too, has his supporters. Italy suffers from the absence of an obvious alternative.
For the moment, Italy is heading for a trial about power and sex. It will attract worldwide attention. It will feature lurid details of so-called "bunga-bunga" parties. It will be unprecedented in nearly every way: the leader of one of the world's largest economies on trial for underage sex with a prostitute.
It is in the diary.
I am in Palermo, in Siciliy, where Silvio Berlusconi was today. Strangely very few Italians believe their Prime Minister will ever actually appear in court.