What makes it unusual, however, is that it is an enclave entirely within Switzerland in the canton of Ticino. At its closest point it is 1km from Italy but because of the terrain it is 14km by road.
Because of it's unique position it benefits from many of the advantages of Switzerland such as medical care and infrastructure, whilst also being able to take advantage of other benefits such as its own lax gambling laws allowing it to run a casino. It is also exempt from VAT.
There is no personal or income tax in Campione and whilst residency in Switzerland is difficult, in Campione it is relatively easy to get; property there is, however, extremely expensive. The comune also uses the Swiss Franc as everyday tender (although the euro is also accepted). It is known as a tax haven.
The area was first settled when the Romans founded a garrison town there in 100 BCE. In 1798 Ticino elected to become part of the newly formed Swiss Confederation, however Campione chose to remain with Lombardy which in turn became part of Italy in 1859.
There is also, however, another story which says that some 13 centuries ago in the year 787 that area of Lake Lugano was ruled by a man who so appreciated the craftsmanship of the Milanese designers, that he ceded the site of Campione to the church of San Ambrogio in Milan. Since that date, Switzerland has complied with this unique grant.
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