Campione d’Italia

Campione d’Italia (IT and CH) - December 2010 

Participants: Felicia Cleveland-Stevens, Meriem Peillet, Gaia Rosenberg Colorni, Stuart Russell Brown, Gwilym Sainsbury

Among outsiders, Campione is most known for its “Municipal Casino”, prevailing over the town centre’s architectural arrangement, which benefits from the enclave’s exemption from EU VAT. With little further knowledge of Campione’s history, political status and urban geography, the group set off with the intention of taking an inflatable beach dinghy on the lake to trace the boundary. Once arrived to their starting point, they were deterred by adverse weather conditions, particularly by a strong cross-shore wind which would have surely carried them into Swiss waters (though they had brought their passports just in case). As an alternative they decided to attempt to walk through the enclave, following the lake’s contour South to North with the hope to cross both borders.

Boundaries present intriguing opportunities for exploration and détournement, especially in regard to those divisions inscribed upon bodies of water. One particular case can be found with Campione d’Italia, an Italian enclave isolated in Switzerland which lays claim to a section of Lake Lugano. Its boundary extends into the lake, marking Italian territory.

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Whilst researching Campione’s history and political status, especially in regards to its Municipal Casino, little insightful literature was found.

However, the group came across an interesting initiative taken by a group of border walking enthusiasts.

To view, follow link:

The group was ultimately prevented from leaving by the geological obstacle (the foot of a mountain) at the North end. Despite the presence of a tunnel leading under the mountain no further exploration was possible due to a metal gate restricting unauthorised access. Due to Campione’s disorientating one-way road system, the group’s driver also was not able to navigate her way out Campione. The group later returned to the parking lot where they had arrived from.

Interactive Google Map of Campione d’Italia showing route walked (and tracked by GPS) in green line:

Still images taken from video footage of walk:

Related projects:

 End Of Passage: Leeds Bradford Airport to Leeds Town Hall. October 2010End_Of_Passage.html
 DRIFT: the synchronised movement of a pedalo on Lake Como and a pedestrian in Milan. December 2010Drift.html