Switzerland just handed one of its towns back to Italy

This week Switzerland 'lost' part of its geographical territory to Italy. The transfer went mostly unnoticed by the Swiss, but the residents of Campione d'Italia are worried about this change.

Switzerland just handed one of its towns back to Italy
Campione d'Italia. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Campione d'Italia is an Italian exclave situated within the Swiss canton of Ticino, about 23 kilometres from Italy.

Since the 1860s until this week, this small 2000-resident town was part of Switzerland's customs territory, but following a request from Rome, the EU imposed the return of Campione to Italy on January 1st of this year.

According to press reports, this change worries the locals accustomed to living as if they were Swiss citizens. They enjoyed perks like the telephone service supplied by Swisscom and the Swiss VAT rate which, at 7.7 percent, is much lower than Italy's 22 percent.

They also used Swiss currency, drove with Swiss licence plates, and had their rubbish collected and water purified by the Swiss.

Concerned about the impact the return to Italy would have on Campione's economy and lifestyle, a citizens' committee had sent to Rome a petition protesting the move. However, it did not succeed.

Residents also began collecting signatures a year ago for a petition to join Switzerland – again, to no avail.

READ ALSO: Could some Italian regions really become part of Switzerland?

An interesting fact about the town is that its original name was simply Campione. Prime Minister Benito Mussolini added the suffix d'Italia in the 1930s to re-affirm the exclave's allegiance to its motherland.

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