Feb 23, 2012

Italian Village Builds Giant Mirror to Combat 83 Days of Darkness

Photograph via Christophe Cauvy



About 120 km (74.5 miles) northeast of Turin, Italy, lies a hamlet called Viganella. It’s a remote commune of a couple hundred German Buddhists situated at the bottom of a steep-sided Alpine valley, right up against the Swiss border.

Every year from November 11th to February 2nd, the sun disappears for Viganella. The village square, which is described as the ‘living room’ for the entire hamlet empties out. The people don’t gather to socialize and play and that bothers the Village Mayor, Pierfranco Midali.



The hamlet of Viganella | Photograph via Christophe Cauvy



From Nov 11 – Feb 2, Viganella gets no direct sunlight | Diagram via BBC News, fixed by soulstealer1984 on Reddit



To combat this, the mayor came up with a novel solution. Build a gigantic mirror on a nearby peak to reflect sunlight on Viganella’s main square below. As the sun moves, so to will the computer-operated mirror.

The mirror measures 8 meters by 5 meters (26 x 16 ft) and cost approximately 100,000 euros to buid and install. The project was financed by the regional authorities and a bank.



Photograph via Christophe Cauvy













In a documentary entitled, The Mirror (Lo Specchio), director David Christensen captures the process of installing the giant mirror and the project’s affect on the lives of the people in the village and the surrounding valley. A trailer for the film can be seen below:









The Mirror (Lo Specchio) Trailer on YouTube
BBC News: Italy village gets ‘sun mirror’
Christophe Cauvy: What is the link between Facebook and an Alpine Italian village?
First spotted on Reddit





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