As Berlusconi arrived at the Sacred Family Foundation near Milan for his first day, a heckler greeted him with shouts of "To prison!" Berlusconi did not respond and made no comment to waiting reporters.
Berlusconi will be working with Alzheimer patients and has reportedly been reading up on the disease in preparation.
One of the directors at the home where Berlusconi is volunteering, Massimo Restelli, told La Repubblica newspaper that the former prime minister would be eased into his work with the dementia patients. "It will be small steps so as not to make any mistakes, and then he could do all sorts of things," such as helping patients at meal time "because sometimes you have to 'remind' the patient that they are eating."
An Italian judge sentenced Berlusconi in April to a year of part-time community service at a retirement community after he was found guilty of tax fraud at his Mediaset mass media company.
The judge spared the 77 year-old former prime minister jail time, and instead directed Berlusconi to perform community service "once a week and for a period of no less than four consecutive hours."