At Young Pioneer Tours, we have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with the enclaves and exclaves of the world, and it does not get much more weird and wonderful than Campione d’Italia.
To read more about what constitutes an enclave, or exclave click here.
Why Is Campione D’Italia an Exclave?
It is an Italian town but is completely surrounded by the Swiss canton of Ticono. Technically it is only 1km as the crow flies from Lombardy in Italy, although because of the big pesky mountains it is 14 km by road from the nearest Italian settlement of Lanzo d’Intelvi.
Why Is Campione D’Italia Part of Italy?
Back in the day when the land was given to Switzerland, the people of Campione voted numerous times not to join the Swiss. They later decided they did want to be part of Switzerland, but as the Swiss were neutral by this point they refused .
Was Campione D’Italia Fascist?
Benito Mussolini, who might I add, I share a birthday with, added d’Italia to the former name of Campione to remind everyone it was, in fact, Italian, but come World War 2 the fascist government had no control over the city. In fact, the CIA even had a clandestine unit there. In this respect, Campione d’Italia enjoyed Swiss-style neutrality during the war. This basically means the banks still took everyone’s money.
Economy of Campione D’Italia
Despite being officially part of Italy for a long time, Campione has largely been integrated into Switzerland, which means it has Swiss level taxes rather than Italian ones.
Switzerland provides all services, it has a Swiss postal code and day to day business is done with the Swiss Franc, rather than the Euro. Campione joined the EU customs union on the 1st of January 2020, against the wishes of the majority of its inhabitants!
It is also a little bit of a tax haven! Mr. Nice, the famous drug smuggling Englishman even had an account here.
It is also famously one of the few Italian places to have a casino. The casino di Campione had seen more than one fellow lose his fortune, but then was declared bankrupt in 2018!