Expat Campione d’Italia

Nestled in the Alps near the Swiss/Italian border in the Canton of Ticino is Campione d’Italia. Campione d’Italia plays host to approximately 3,000 inhabitants out of which about 1,000 are foreigners. The town is one of Europe’s best known tax havens and was privately owned by Totone Campione until his death in 777 CE. It has since been owned by the Swiss, French, Italians, and Austrians. In 1861, Campione d’Italia was formally awarded to the Kingdom of Italy.

Not surprisingly, Campione was considerably impacted by its diverse history. The official currency is the Swiss Franc or the Euro. License plates, drivers licenses, cable television, local telephone, and postal services are Swiss. Visas are granted by the Swiss authorities, but the city itself is technically Italian, thus subject to Italian taxation… but not entirely.


Located in the Alps on the shores of Lake Lugano approximately 300m above sea level, Campione boasts a mild sub-alpine, almost Mediterranean climate. The average temperature ranges from approximately 25 degrees in the coldest months (December/January) to approximately 85 degrees in the warmest month (July).


Campione is governed by Italian law. Italy is a republic and is currently being lead by the new centre-left coalition. It is a founding member of the European Union, European Community, Council of Europe, and NATO. The Italian government has had a long history of instability.

Tax System

Those who can afford property in Campione are in for a treat. Residents are only partially taxed. They are exempt from the Italian Value Added Tax (VAT) and do not pay full Italian income tax. The first 200,000 Swiss Francs reported may be converted into Euros under a special exchange rate. The result is a lower tax rate, hence a tax break. In addition, Campione does not tax gifts or inheritance.

Any income obtained from interest on foreign bonds paid through Italian banks is taxed at a reduced rate of 12.5%.

All tax breaks in this town are for residents only. Corporations are taxed at the typical Italian rates.

Medical Care

Adequate medical care may be found in the nearby city of Lugano. For excellent medical care, residents may choose to drive to Zurich (2 hours) or Geneva (6 Hours).

Real Estate

Although visas are regulated by the Swiss authorities, prospective residents must apply for permits from the Italian authorities. The price of real estate in Campione is extremely high. It is advisable to obtain a lawyer when purchasing real estate as some agents operate without licenses and a buyer could find themselves in a sticky predicament. The typical real estate fee is between 3-5%. The average cost of a small two bedroom apartment is about 450,000 CHF. The cost of houses begin in the low millions.


Campione is a small town so there is little diversity in commerce. However, this does not  deter its residents. Excellent shopping may be found less than 10 minutes away in the larger city of Lugano. Fashionistas may opt to drive for an hour to the fashion capital of the world, Milan. Although the majority of the residents of Campione are Italian citizens, the borders are also open to them should they wish to drive the two hours to Zurich.

Cost of Living

Moderate to expensive if you can afford the property.