Situated in the foothill of the deep valleys of Northern Italy, Viganella is a small village that is known to have created its own sunlight! It clings to the steep side of Antrona valley and has been surrounded by mountains, thereby leaving the town in darkness up until now.

representaion of Viganella
The small town of Viganella

A Short Walk Down The Memory Lane

Viganella is a small town constituting 163 residents where earlier the Sun did not rise for 3 months every year from 11th November to 2nd February. Apparently, generation after generation has spent over 800 winters in the dark.

Every year after witnessing the last sunset, the town would wait for the return of light. They would dress up and celebrate the first sunrise in the course of 3 months with rituals derived from the pagan tradition.

The Creation Of The Sun Using The Laws Of Reflection

In 1999, the then-mayor of the town, Franco Midali had asked a local architect Giacomo Bonzani to bring the sun to them. However impossible the feat might sound, the architect engineered a way to fulfill the desire of the inhabitants.

By putting the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid’s Laws of Reflection into play, a huge mirror was installed on the 1,100 meters high Mount Scagiola above the town. The mirror reflected the light of the Sun into the town’s main square.

To show how Viganella would be left in darkness
The shadow of the mountain on Viganella during the Winter Solstice; Illustration by Angela Larcher

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The project was put into action on 17th December 2006 and with the help of an 8x5m mirror, it reflected sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. The mirror was programmed in a way that it would rotate following the Sun’s path with the help of a software program.

Although having a reflected light isn’t the same as feeling the warmth of the sunlight itself, but it was enough to light up and warm the town.

To show the reflection of the sun
The installed mirror on Mount Scagiola reflecting Sunlight

After the completion of the project, former mayor Midali stated that the inspiration behind the project was derived from the desire to allow people to socialize and have fun in the winters too.

The Mirror that was installed.

Viganella – An Inspiring Story Around The World

Not only did the town help itself but also became an inspiration to other towns that any obstacle can be overcome. In 2013, the town of Rjukan in Norway saw a similar mirror be installed after a group of engineers visited Viganella to study the mirror.

Image Credits: Google images

Sources: News18, Vice, Times Now,

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The post is tagged under #happytravel, Beautiful countries to travel, physics, laws of reflection, Italy, best sites in Italy, Italy tourism, little Italy, northern Italy, a small village, small town, creation of the sun, new invention, Viganella, Norway, inspiration, inspirational story, valleys, mountains of solar panels, how to travel in mountains

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