If you have a map ol bwitzerland, find the Swiss city of Lugano 0f Switzerland’s Ticino. Campione is a half-mile swim, just acn two kilometres south of the city.
If your home atlas doesn’t show Lugano, Campione will be found on road maps and is a 45 minute freeway (lots of tolls) drive due north from Milan, Italy. In fact, the Milan airport, known as Malpensa, is halfway between Campione and Milan. From Malpensa-Milan or Linate-Milan airport there are direct flights via Alitalia and other airlines to every major city in the world.
Campione is easier to get to with public transport than most other tax havens including nearby Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein, for instance, is two hours by public bus from Zurich International. There is no direct train, and one must change three times to get from Zurich to Vaduz, Liechtenstein. For Campione, one can fly into Milan International, take the airport bus into Milan and then take a bus or train to Lugano or even straight to Campione on the “casino bus” from Milan. This will mean about two hours of travel time from the airport to Campione. Our favorite short cut is to rent a car at Milan airport. However, if you’re going to need a car for more than a couple of days, rent in Switzerland as it is far cheaper.
The only other tax haven more convenient for a major airport is Monaco, served by Nice International Airport. Because there are so many wealthy people in Monaco, there is a connecting helicopter flight every few minutes to downtown Monaco, as well as trains, limousine service and taxi. Campione is not quite so well served. But with a rental car it s just as fast and easy to get to Campione as it is to get to Monaco.
Since there is an excellent freeway between Linate-Milan and Campione, the trip should take less than an hour by rented car. Just before you enter Campione on the only road into town, on the Swiss side of the street, there are a couple of very agreeable, reasonably priced hotels. For stays of a week or more, the Utoring Apartments is located just outside the Campione border near the Campione Welcome Arch. In Campione itself there is one small tourist class guest house called The Bellevue. It is not much to write home about (except perhaps that it is run by the brother of Caterina Valentine, an Italian singer), but the price is right, if you like cheap accommodation. Melido offers similarly priced bed and breakfast.
The Swiss town just south of Campione is called Bissone. The freeway exit is clearly marked Bissone/Campione. It is only three kilometers Oust under two miles) from the freeway exit to Campione. All local roads in Campione are at least two lane and paved. There is no border control nor any formalities when passing between Switzerland and Campione. One does show a passport or identity card when crossing into Switzerland from Italy proper. When you get to Campione, there is a big masonry welcome arch locally called the Arco. Thiough the Arco is the only way in or out, aside from a couple of secret footpaths going up the rathci steep mountain slope behind Campione. If you want the romance of crossing a border James Bond style, you can spend about an hour hiking at a 45 degree angle up a quarter mile trail through an uninhabited roadless part of Switzerland. Eventually, you get to the picturesque Italian mountaintop ski-resort town of Sighignola or a little further on, Lanzo d’Intelvi. There you’ll find charming bars, restaurants, ski-rentals and a pleasant apres-ski atmosphere. Hiking back to Campione from Italy proper is all downhill and much easier. No one seems to care about the dozens of Campionese hikers and Italian visitors who use this shortcut to walk across the unmarked border. Not only the footpaths but most of Campione is either very up or very down as it is built on the side of a steep hill.
You will find the wild mountain flowers of summer and spring, and the ambience of winter.
The surrounding area is certainly very scenic at any time of year.
Your automobile trip from Milan, particularly if you take one of the picturesque side roads, will meander through what this author feels is the world’s most magnificent blend of natural and man made splendours. Hopefully, you too will like Alpine scenery, mountain lakes and romantic palazzi, giardini and castelli. If you didn’t understand my show-off Italian you will be passing through an area that was the traditional vacation destination of Europe’s aristocrats or three centimes. There are some abandoned grand hotels, one actually in Campione itself, plus many palaces and castles in various states of restoration or disrepair.
Are sometimes available but several wealthy residents who wish to improve their own situation are on the lookout for good deals and rapidly snap up bargains as they appear.
Most people do not know that in Switzerland there are all kinds of special rules to discriminate against the non-Swiss. For instance, in Switzerland, and in Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey and many other tax havens, there are two tiers of real estate prices. A foreigner must buy at the top tier, up to double market price, and usually sell only to locals at the bottom tier. There are also special permits required and discriminatory taxes applicable only to foreigners. Any stranger venturing into a real estate investment in Switzerland, or in most other tax havens, is virtually guaranteed a financial bath. A loss of about 50 per cent on any property purchased in Switzerland can be expected if it is sold in less than 15 years. Additionally, if a Swiss real estate purchase is made without proper paperwork and government approvals, the entire property can, and probably will be, confiscated. The reason for all this is that xenophobic Swiss do not want foreigners buying their real estate. Therefore, they make it a very unattractive proposition. The Swiss, Bermudians, Channel Islanders and existing residents of similar small desirable tax haven communities feel that, without restrictions, rich foreigners would rent or buy up all the property and make it impossible for locals to remain there.
Campione at present has no such restrictions. However, the situation has become slightly more restrictive since we first published this report. There is now an increased risk of delay for residence permits. (The locals complained that even though 70 per cent of the housing is empty, they were having difficulty with buying or renting accommodation. Perhaps they should have read this Report.) These few complications pale by comparison to the massive.
Bureaucracy of Switzerland, but things might get worse. Moral of story: act now while you can before this loophole is shut.