Campione d'Italia

Coordinates: 45°58′N 8°58′E / 45.967°N 8.967°E / 45.967; 8.967
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Campione d'Italia
Comune di Campione d'Italia
Campione d'Italia in April 2006
Campione d'Italia in April 2006
Flag of Campione d'Italia
Coat of arms of Campione d'Italia
Location of Campione d'Italia
Campione d'Italia is located in Italy
Campione d'Italia
Campione d'Italia
Location of Campione d'Italia in Italy
Campione d'Italia is located in Lombardy
Campione d'Italia
Campione d'Italia
Campione d'Italia (Lombardy)
Coordinates: 45°58′N 08°58′E / 45.967°N 8.967°E / 45.967; 8.967
Founded77 BC
 • MayorRoberto Canesi
 • Total2.68 km2 (1.03 sq mi)
273 m (896 ft)
 • Total1,748
 • Density650/km2 (1,700/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Patron saintSt. Zeno
Saint day12 April
WebsiteOfficial website

Campione d'Italia (Italian pronunciation: [kamˈpjoːne diˈtaːlja]), (Comasco: Campiùn, pronounced [kãˈp(j)ũː]) is a comune of the Province of Como in the Lombardy region of Italy and an enclave surrounded by the Swiss canton of Ticino. It is also an exclave. At its closest, the enclave is less than one kilometre (0.6 mi) from the rest of Italy, but the intervening mountainous terrain requires a journey by road through the Swiss village of Bissone of over 14 km (9 mi) to reach the nearest Italian town, Lanzo d'Intelvi, and over 28 km (17 mi) to reach the city of Como.


Map showing the location of the Campione enclave near the centre.

In the first century BC, the Romans founded the garrison town of Campilonum to protect their territories from Helvetii invasions.[3]

In 777, Toto of Campione, a local Lombard lord, left his inheritance to the archbishopric of Milan. Ownership was transferred to the abbey of Sant’Ambrogio. In 1512, the surrounding area of Ticino was transferred from the ownership of the bishop of Como to Switzerland by Pope Julius II, as thanks for the support in the War of the Holy League. However, the abbey maintained control over what is now Campione d'Italia and some territory on the western bank of Lake Lugano.[3]

When Ticino chose to become part of the Swiss Confederation in 1798, the people of Campione chose to remain part of Lombardy.[4] In 1800, Ticino proposed exchanging Indemini for Campione. In 1814 a referendum was held, and the residents of Campione opposed it. In 1848, during the wars of Italian unification, Campione petitioned Switzerland for annexation.[citation needed] This was rejected due to the Swiss desire for neutrality.[3]

After Italian unification in 1861, all land west of Lake Lugano and half of the lake were given to Switzerland so that Swiss trade and transport would not have to pass through Italy. The d'Italia was added to the name of Campione in the 1930s by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and an ornamental gate to the village was built. This was to assert the enclave's Italian character.[3]

During World War II, the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS – the precursor to the CIA), partly through Berne OSS chief Allen Welsh Dulles, maintained a unit in Campione for operations in Italy.[5] At the time the Italian fascist regime did not have control over the enclave. The Swiss ignored the situation as long as the Americans kept a low profile. Postage stamps were issued during this period inscribed "Campione d'Italia" and valued in Swiss currency.[6]


The population of the enclave according to the Italian Census was:[7]

Historical population

Economy and administration[edit]

Piazza Indipendenza, border between Campione and Bissone, Switzerland.
Detailed map of Campione d'Italia, neighbouring Swiss centres and the next nearest Italian territory.

Campione has had a considerable amount of economic and administrative integration with Switzerland, but against the wishes of its residents,[8][9][10] it formally became part of the EU customs territory on 1 January 2020.[11][12][13] VAT will apply, but the tax rate will remain that of Switzerland (much lower than that of Italy). A border crossing will be established.[14]

Prior to that time, it was de facto in the customs territory of Switzerland, meaning most of the public services were carried out by Swiss providers, such as refuse collection, telecommunications, and vehicle registration.[15] The enclave enjoyed considerable tax breaks and was exempt from VAT. Campione d'Italia was one of four Italian cities issued a casino licence and took advantage of this by operating the Casinò di Campione, as gambling laws are less strict than in either Italy or Switzerland; also a legacy of the pre-World War II era. Although (as part of Italy) the euro is formally the only legal tender, in practice the main operating currency in the commune has been the Swiss franc,[16][17] but euros are widely accepted.[16] Salaries are paid in Swiss francs.[17]

Pursuant to bilateral agreements, Italians residing in Campione also benefit from many services and facilities located in Swiss territory, such as hospital care, that would otherwise be available only to Swiss residents.[18] People working in Campione but living in Switzerland have access to Swiss unemployment and other state help, which does not apply to those living within Campione village limits, which is legally Italy.[19]

Firefighters and ambulances are provided by the Swiss authorities.[20] However, security is provided by the Carabinieri (Italian military police) and the village also has a Polizia Locale group.[21]

Previously, mail could be sent to Campione using either a Swiss postal code (CH-6911) or an Italian one (IT-22061) via Switzerland or Italy, but the Swiss postal code has ceased to be valid, with mail instead being charged at the same international rate as that between Switzerland and Italy.[22] Consequently, all mail is now processed and delivered by Poste Italiane, not Swiss Post.[23] The telephone system remains Swiss, meaning that calls from Italy and all other countries outside Switzerland require the international dialling code for Switzerland, +41, with the exception of the town hall, which can be reached using the code for Italy, +39.[24]

Similarly, motor vehicles, which used Ticino registration plates, were no longer allowed to do so, or to be insured in Switzerland.[25][26] Instead, they were required to be registered in Como.[27] However, electricity has always been supplied from Italy.[17]

Casinò di Campione[edit]

The Casinò di Campione, the oldest and largest casino in Europe

The Casinò di Campione was the largest employer in the municipality up until its closure in 2018. The casino then reopened in 2022. It was founded in 1917, owned by the Italian government, and operated by the municipality. The income from the casino was sufficient for the operation of Campione without the imposition of taxes, or obtaining of other revenue.[5] It was Europe's largest casino.[28]

The casino was declared bankrupt on 27 July 2018. The economic impact was a threat to the entire village, with everything from pizzeria owners and taxi drivers to the municipal fire department on the list of creditors. Locals feared that without the casino, the commune would become a ghost town.[19] Under the customs deal of 2020 Italy agreed to settle debts to Swiss creditors estimated at nearly €5 million.[14] The casino re-opened on 26 January 2022.[29]


Schools within the comune are the Scuola Materna G. Garibaldi, the Scuola Elementare, and the Scuola Media.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Demo-Geodemo. - Maps, Population, Demography of ISTAT - Italian Institute of Statistics". ISTAT. Archived from the original on 22 June 2017. Retrieved 11 August 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d Jacobs, Frank (15 May 2012). "Enclave-Hunting in Switzerland". New York Times. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  4. ^ "La Repubblica cisalpine (1797 Giugno 29 - 1799 Aprile 26; 1800 Giugno 17 - 1802 Gennaio 26) – Istituzioni storiche – Lombardia Beni Culturali". (in Italian).
  5. ^ a b Frank Jacobs (15 May 2012). "Enclave-Hunting in Switzerland". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Campione d'Italia". Archived from the original on 17 May 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  7. ^ "comune di Campione 1816 - 1859". Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Campione scrive al Parlamento europeo: "Quella dogana non la vogliamo"". Ticinonline. 11 April 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  9. ^ "I campionesi non ci stanno e scrivono a Mattarella". Ticinonline. 19 November 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Campionesi in piazza per il proprio futuro". Ticinonline. 12 November 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  11. ^ European Sources Online Directive (EU) 2019/475 amending Directives 2006/112/EC and 2008/118/EC as regards the inclusion of the Italian municipality of Campione d’Italia and the Italian waters of Lake Lugano in the customs territory of the Union
  12. ^ "Discover the reason Switzerland gave a town back to Italy". 8 January 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  13. ^ "Switzerland just handed one of its towns back to Italy". The Local. 3 January 2020.
  14. ^ a b Tiny Italian enclave in Switzerland transferred back to Italy and the EU's customs union, Euronews, 3 January 2020
  15. ^ A tiny Italian exclave unwillingly joins the EU’s customs union, The Economist, 2 January 2020
  16. ^ a b "Campione d'Italia, un paradiso italiano nel cuore del Canton Ticino" (in Italian). Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  17. ^ a b c "Campione d'Italia, piccola bomboniera italiana nel cuore della Svizzera" (in Italian). Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Rapporti tra il Cantone Ticino e il Comune di Campione d'Italia (Relations between Canton Ticino and Campione d'Italia) (Italian)". Retrieved 11 August 2008.
  19. ^ a b Vogt, Andrea (27 January 2019). "Closure of Europe's oldest casino leaves Italy's historic Como exclave in crisis". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Servizi Emergenze (Services, emergencies) (Italian)". Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  21. ^ Campione d’Italia: il Generale Maruccia in visita al nucleo Carabinieri di Campione d’Italia, Comozero, 8 February 2019
  22. ^ Campione d’Italia entra nello spazio doganale europeo, Swiss Post, 31 December 2019
  23. ^ Italy and Switzerland – Customs territory of Campione d'Italia, Asendia, 23 December 2019
  24. ^ Telefono e posta elettronica, Comune di Campione d’Italia (CO)
  25. ^ Campione, niente targhe svizzere dal 1° gennaio, La Regione, 29 September 2019
  26. ^ Swiss Talk of Annexing Italy’s Former CIA Spy Nest Roils Rome, Bloomberg, October 15, 2019
  27. ^ Altra beffa per Campione d’Italia, chiude l’ufficio postale svizzero: una conseguenza dell’ingresso nell’area Ue Archived 19 November 2019 at the Wayback Machine, Corriere di Como, 18 November 2019
  28. ^ "Losing streak". The Economist. 21 September 2013. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Riapre oggi il Casinò di Campione d'Italia, un giorno atteso oltre tre anni" [The Casino di Campione d'Italia reopens today after a three-year wait]. QuiComo (in Italian). 26 January 2022. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  30. ^ Numeri Utili." (Archive) Campione d'Italia. Retrieved on 14 November 2013.

External links[edit]

45°58′N 8°58′E / 45.967°N 8.967°E / 45.967; 8.967