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Campione d'Italia (Comasco: Campiùn, pronounced [kãˈp(j)ũː]) is a comune of the Province of Como in the Lombardy region of Italy and an exclave surrounded by the Swiss canton of Ticino. At its closest, the exclave is less than one kilometre (0.6 mi) from the rest of Italy, but the intervening mountainous terrain requires a journey by road 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.

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
Coat of arms
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
ProvinceProvince of Como
Founded77 BC
 • MayorRoberto Salmoiraghi
 • Total2.68 km2 (1.03 sq mi)
273 m (896 ft)
 • Total1,955
 • Density730/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
I-22060 CH-6911
Patron saintSt. Zeno
Saint day12 April
WebsiteOfficial website



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.[4]

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 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.[4]

When Ticino chose to become part of the Swiss Confederation in 1798, the people of Campione chose to remain part of Lombardy.[5] 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. This was rejected due to the Swiss desire for neutrality.[4]

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/Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and an ornamental gate to the city was built. This was to assert the exclave's Italian character.[4]

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.[6] At the time the Italian fascist regime did not have control over the exclave. 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.[7]

Economy and administrationEdit

Campione has a considerable amount of economic and administrative integration with Switzerland. The village is within the Swiss customs territory and legal tender in the village is the Swiss franc,[8] but the euro is widely accepted. Vehicle registration plates are not Italian, but Swiss; similarly, the telephone system is almost entirely operated by Swisscom, so that calls from Italy and all other countries outside Switzerland (with very few exceptions such as calling the town hall) require the international dialing code for Switzerland (+41). Mail may be sent to Campione using either a Swiss postal code or an Italian one using Switzerland or Italy as destination country respectively.

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.[9]

Like the Italian town of Livigno, it is exempt from EU VAT. Campione took advantage of its special status 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.

Security is provided by the Carabinieri (Italian military police) and the city also has a Polizia Locale group. Firefighters and ambulances are Swiss.[10]


Schools within the comune are the Scuola Materna G. Garibaldi, the Scuola Elementare, and the Scuola Media.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ ISTAT demographics
  4. ^ a b c d Jacobs, Frank (15 May 2012). "Enclave-Hunting in Switzerland". New York Times. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Frank Jacobs (15 May 2012). "Enclave-Hunting in Switzerland". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Campione d'Italia". Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Comune di Campione d'Italia" (Italian). Retrieved 12 January 2009. "... pur essendo territorio italiano Campione è doganalmente ed economicamente svizzero. Così pure la moneta e la rete telefonica. ("... although being Italian territory, Campione is customs-wise and economically Swiss. Also the currency and the telephone network.")
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "Servizi Emergenze (Services, emergencies) (Italian)". Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  11. ^ "Numeri Utili." (Archive) Campione d'Italia. Retrieved on 14 November 2013.

External linksEdit