Live Surrounded by Switzerland With Lower Taxes and Easier immigration Procedures in This Italian Enclave

Notorious British drug smuggler Howard Marks wrote in his book, Mr Nice, about burying a passport in Campione d’Italia. He intended to make his way back to the town to retrieve it. He wanted to use it to flee the British authorities who were pursuing him at the time. Campione has always attracted interesting characters like Marks. For much of its history it’s been a glamorous town that has attracted the international elite for its casino, beautiful scenery and tax benefits.

A Small Part of Italy in Switzerland

Campione d’Italia is a small place. It’s not much bigger than Monaco. It benefits from beautiful scenery on the banks of lake Como. It’s surrounded by Switzerland. But it’s controlled by Italy. It’s in the EU customs zone but it’s subject to the lower Swiss VAT rates of only 8%. The local currency is the Swiss Franc (CHF).

Campione d’Italia is ideally situated at the heart of Europe. Lugano is 10 minutes away by boat. Como is 15 minutes away and Milan is a mere 40-minute drive. Skiing resorts are only an hour away in winter. The town’s located on the shores of Lake Lugano so it’s ideal for summer activities too.

You’ll be using the Swiss phone system and banking with Swiss banks in Campione. There are around 2,000 residents of Campione, including a few hundred foreigners.

Campione d’Italia is home to one of Europe’s largest casinos. The town was originally funded by gambling revenues. However, the casino ran into difficulties in recent years. It declared bankruptcy and closed in 2018. It remained closed until last year when it reopened.

Campione d’Italia Has Tax Benefits Provided You’re Not Italian

Capione d’Italia is not technically a tax haven. But it does benefit from lower tax rates than the rest of Italy and Switzerland. High net worth residents can opt to take advantage of Italy’s fixed rate deal for foreigners relocating to Italy. Foreign residents in Campione, however have long reported that they’ve never been bothered by Italian tax collectors. Campione residents benefit from a lower tax rate and a special exchange rate between Euros and Swiss Francs that brings the headline rate down to around 10%. There’s no inheritance tax or gift tax.

Real estate is not expensive compared to Monaco and even Dubai. It’s possible to pick up a waterfront apartment for less than €500,000. If you prefer to rent ,there are options from as little as €1,000 per month.

Anyone who buys or rents a house or apartment should be able to get a residency permit swiftly and without difficulty.


Campione d’Italia could be a great option for anyone looking for a tax efficient residence in the heart of Europe. Residents benefit from free movement across the EU and Switzerland. Due to its unique status, you’re effectively living in Switzerland but in the EU customs area. You can take advantage of the Italian lifestyle combined with Swiss efficiency and an agreeable climate.

It’s one way to live in Switzerland full time without going through the much more difficult Swiss immigration process. Not to mention higher taxes in Switzerland too.

Both Switzerland and Italy have other schemes for High Net Worth foreigners to pay minimal taxes. In Switzerland it’s possible to do a deal with the local cantons to get a fixed tax rate. Italy offers foreigners a fixed tax of €100,000 per year. Both options are good for high earners. But there’s a subset of people who’ll prefer to opt for the benefits of Campione d’Italia.

Campione d’Italia: Backdoor to Switzerland