Mirror Gives Italian Village its Place in the Sun

A village in the Italian Alps is finally basking in winter sunlight thanks to a giant mirror installed on a mountain top to reflect the sun’s rays into the main square. Viganella, with a population of less than 200, lies in a valley so steep that each year from November 11 to February 2 it hardly receives any sunshine. That was until Mayor Pierfranco Midali decided to do something about it. Now a 5-metre (16- foot) high, 8-metre (26-foot) wide mirror tracks the sun’s movement and reflects its rays into Viganella’s historic piazza. The mirror, which cost around 100,000 euros (67,000 pounds), was unveiled on Sunday to the delight of the inhabitants. “Here it’s very cold in the winter and residents, many of whom are elderly, used to stay inside all the time. Now people are enjoying sitting on the bench in the square and having a chat,” said Maria Velona, who works at the townhall. Midali has been contacted by local authorities with similar problems in Canada, the United States and France.