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Village basks in reflected glory

Earth Observations

Dec 18, 2006

SUN-deprived people might consider moving to the northern Italian village of Viganella, basking in sunlight as of today thanks to a giant mirror.
"I've waited for this moment for seven years," said Pierfranco Midali, mayor of the sun-challenged hamlet nestled in the Ossola valley.
The village's 185 residents are plunged in chilly darkness during winter months as surrounding mountains cut off direct sunlight.
The answer: A towering 8m by 5m mirror installed on the flank of one bluff and computer-driven to follow the sun's path and cast its rays back on Viganella.
"It wasn't easy, we had to find the proper material, learn abut the technology and especially find the money," Mr Midali said of the nearly €100,000 ($167,000) operation which has spawned envy from Swiss and other Italian mountain villages.

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