Believe it or not, there is more to Italy than just pasta, vino, and gelato (hard to believe, I know). Italy is also famous for it’s splendid and regal casinos. Below we have listed the top four casinos for tourists in Italy to visit – and you’ll still be able to have your glass of Italian wine while you play your favorite game.
The 4 Best Casinos in Italy
1. Venice Casino
The world’s first casino saw the light of day in Venice, Italy. The year was 1638 and the spectacular city of Venice finally caught some international attention. What makes the casino of Venice so special is the fact that the casino is spread out all over the city. For obvious reasons, the Venice casino could not just build an extra wing if they want to expand its operations. I guess you can take the Vegas route and just buy the building next door, blow it up and then build a new branch in connection to your old casino. But that’s not how it’s done in Venice. You had to wait for a new building to become vacant – and if that building was on the other side of town or down by the beach, so be it. That’s the reason why the Venice casino is spread out on three different locations of the city.
In the twentieth century, the Lido branch of Venice Casino opened up just by the beach (Lido is Italian for beach), and it still has a unique atmosphere reminiscent of the early thirties with the hotel’s beautiful beachfront architecture. The beach casino is surrounded by some amazing hotels, such as Hotel Excelsior and Des Bains, and up until the year 2000, this was the summer home of the Venice Gamblers. The casino was closed for quite some time and had undergone lavish restorations. It is once again opened and has been beautifully restored.
Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi
In the ‘50s, the Canal Grande Casino branch opened for business. Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi, locally referred to as ‘The Doge’ has been accommodated in the elegant and exclusive Doge’s Palace, former residence of not only the former the Doge Of Venice, but also Richard Wagner, the world-famous composer.
Ca ‘Vendramin is considered the central casino building of Venice and is located on the main waterway of the city. Apart from a great gaming experience, this casino boasts enthralling cultural activities, which include gala dinners, concerts in the garden and events such as ballet and art shows. The place was forever immortalized by the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio who portrayed the ‘Vendramin casino as a foggy cloud resting on the water.
Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi
Pallazzo Vendramin Caligeri
Cannaregio 2040 – 30121 (Venice)
(A few minutes from Saint Lucia station)
In the late ‘90s, the latest addition to the Venice casinos opened up to the public. Ca ‘Noghera was the first Italian casino offering American games to its customers. This casino has a very informal and modern atmosphere, especially in comparison to the other casinos in the city.
So to sum it up; if you want to experience the gambling culture of Venice you will find it at three different locations, all with its unique charm. All Venetian casinos are assembled under one slogan: un’emozione infinita, or ‘an infinite emotion’. The Casino of Venice is, in other words, a mix of avant-garde and tradition. The pay-off for this combination can only be explained as an infinite emotion.
Via Paliaga 4 / 8 (Venice – Tessera)
Near the Marco Polo
You have to be of at least the legal age of 18 to enter any of the Venetian casinos, and you must be able to show a valid ID-card at all times. Except for the currently closed Lido casino, which is usually open during the summer, all casinos are open until 2.30 am on weekdays and 3.00 am on weekends, with the exception of Christmas, when they stay closed. Entrance fee is €5.
2. San Remo Casino
San Remo is an Italian tourist resort famous for, among other things, its many cultural events, such as the San Remo music festival. In a sports context, the City is also well-known as the endpoint of the classic cycling race between Milan and San Remo. Among gamblers, the city is maybe mostly known as the origin of the stud poker game Telesina.
Located in the province of Imperia and positioned in a bay sheltered by mountains, the climate here is unusually mild for the region. The Riviera attracts thousands of visitors every month of the year and gambling enthusiasts have the opportunity to check-in at the Casino Municipale di Sanremo, the oldest casino in Italy.
Brief History of the Casino
The beautiful, liberty-styled casino building opened its doors to the public at the beginning of the last century and it was the only one to remain open when Mussolini ordered the closure of all Italian gaming rooms in 1924.
Among some of the distinguished casino visitors who passed through here over the years are people like Luigi Pirandello, Duke Ellington and Giuseppe Ungaretti, but most notably the Italian writer Tommaso Landolfi who set some of his best stories take place at this exact location.
The recent restoration of the Casino Municipale revived the same yellow tone of to pay tribute to the old liberty frescos. In fact, the front walls of the building look exactly the same today as the original architect Eugenio Ferret imagined them, back in 1905. As you may have realized by now, literature and theater have always been present in San Remo, but so has gambling.
About the Casino
The casino is 2,500 square meters divided among several rooms:The largest room,La Sala Gio Ponti, named after its architect, offers table games like American and French Roulette, Chemin de Fer, etc. The other gambling room, La Sala Sanctis, houses 10 roulette tables, 8 blackjack tables and several tables for Texas Hold’em Poker.
In Sala Dorata, or the Golden Hall, private tables can be set up where the casino allows games up to $500 limits. If you continue to explore the casino building you will eventually also find the old ballroom that is still open for visitors. One can indulge in a vast choice of games offered at Casino Municipale, ranging from traditional French games and American variations, to a wide selection of modern electronic games.
Not Only Gambling
Inside the Casino you will also find one of the finest theaters throughout the whole region, and literary events are held every Tuesday. So if Lady Fortune is not smiling in your direction you can always cool off and enjoy some of the cultural or historical sides of the casino instead.
For a break or a tasty gourmet dinner, you can reserve a table at Biribissi, or enjoy the beautiful terrace of the Roof Garden during the summer. If you’re just looking for a quick snack or a break from all the gambling we recommend something from the Slot Food or whatever one of three bars is serving that day.
Casinò di Sanremo
Corso degli Inglesi 18
The Municipal Casino is located right in the center of San Remo on Corso degli Inglesi (English Road), number 18. Minimum age 18 years. Dress properly. Even if you aren’t interested in gambling it’s still worth visiting the casino, which is open for tourist visits on Saturday mornings.
3. Campione Casino
The town of Campione is actually an Italian enclave in the Ticino region of Switzerland. The town of 2000 inhabitants is located 60 km from Milan with the lake of Lugano and the mountains separating it from Italy.
The liberal gambling laws and the fact that Campione is not part of the EU VAT agreement make the little tax heaven of Campione a very popular tourist destination for gamblers from all over Europe. The town casino was built before the Second World War but recently expanded with a new building, thereby making it one of the largest casino complexes in Europe.
The Origins of Campione Casino in Italy
The geographical position of isolation from Italy made Campione an ideal destination for Mussolini opponents in war times. During World War II, the pro-Nazi Italian regime did not have any control over the region and the city was therefore used by the Allies as a base for operations within Italian borders.
The autonomous state of the region still to this day makes a perfect hideaway for high-ranking government figures and even royalties. In 2006, the Campione casino made top news headlines all over the world with a sex scandal involving Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia, former heir to the throne, (Italy was a parliamentary monarchy before it became a republic in 1946) but he was never proven guilty.
The Campione Casino Today
The geographical position of isolation from Italy made Campione an ideal destination for Mussolini opponents in war times. Besides the tourist business, the casino is the main source of income for the city of Campione. The casino is owned and run by the Italian government, and the revenue of the casino is enough to bankroll the running of the city without the imposition of any government taxes.
Recently, the casino underwent a major extension and a lot of work has been put down on the design of the new building. A feel of welcome, comfort and spectacular architecture where three watchwords used by architect Mario Botta when designing the new addition that opened up in 2008. You can choose between the classic French games such as Roulette, Trente/Quarante and Chemin de Fer and American games like Blackjack, Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Poker and Craps. Just as in any casino worth mentioning there are also numerous slots games available, many of them connected to the “Mystery” progressive jackpot.
Piazzale Milano 1
22060 Campione d’Italia
If you are arriving by car you should take the Campione D’Italy exit on the A9 motorway between Milan and Lugano. If you don’t have your own car or if you want to save the environment (and some money) there are also free transfer buses departing from the central station in Milan several times daily. For further information on the buses, call 031/2769934 or 031/2769936.
4. Casino de la Vallée, Saint Vincent
Saint Vincent is a relatively small town (of approx. 5,000 inhabitants) located in the semi-autonomous Valle d’Aosta region in Northern Italy. The hot springs in the area had already made this a popular spa resort by the late 1700s when Jean-Baptiste Perret discovered the therapeutic workings of these waters. In the 19th century, Queen Maria Therese of Spain frequently visited these spas and stayed at the nearby castle of Challant Châtillon.
History of the Casino
During the Second World War, the acting Mayor at the time, Elijah Page, argued that during such hard times a casino would be the perfect thing to lighten up the spirits of Saint Vincent’s citizens. With permission from the church, a couple of roulette tables were set up during summertime and the success was unprecedented.
In 1945, Page requested an official gambling permit from the Italian state, who by that time didn’t allow any form of gambling. The mayor received no answer to his request from the fascistic Mussolini government, but being a Mayor of a semi-autonomous region had its privileges. With a lot of interests in the region, French officials heard the Mayors call to action, and maybe as a statement to the Italians, French permission for gambling was granted to Casino de la Vallée in 1946.
In a mix of tradition and modernity, Casino de la Vallée today offers a large variety of casino games: Black Jack, Chemin de fer (a variation of Baccarat), Craps, Poker, Fairoulette Saint-Vincent (a variation of Roulette), Telesina Poker, American and French Roulette, Punto Banco (Baccarat) and Trente et Quarante (Red and Black).
On the ground floor, you will find the gambling rooms, whilst the bars are located one floor up. The bars offer table service, but if you want something a bit fancier, the elegant Restaurant Brasserie du Casino is highly recommended. If you’re having a late dinner you might even catch some live musical entertainment in the brasserie.
Just as in Vegas, casino customers are offered Comps to encourage gambling. Just ask for the fidelity card upon arrival. This free card entitles you to various discounts, such as shopping discounts and catering.
Casino de la Vallée
Italo Mus 1
11027 Saint-Vincent (Aosta)
If you get here by car there are about 500 spaces in the large parking lot that can be used by fidelity card-holders. You don’t have to dress to kill at Casino de la Vallée, take note however that casual clothing is only allowed in the Circus Hall.