The municipality of Viganella, a small village of about 200 souls, in the Antrona Valley, does not receive direct sunlight during the winter, from mid-November to early February, remaining in the shade under the mountainside where it was built.
But the inhabitants of the town do not give up and after 8 centuries they manage to bring light back to the valley even in the winter months, creating a work that until now no one in the history of humanity had done before.
On February 2, on the occasion of the Madonna della Candelora, the reappearance in the sun and the defeat of darkness are celebrated, with a big party that until a few years ago was the real tourist attraction of the place, with religious functions and a tasting of local products.
But since 2006 another attraction has attracted tourists to this small reality, making Viganella jump to the national news: the light has been brought back to the town, thanks to the installation of a 40 square meter mirror placed on the opposite side of the valley above a Viganella, at 1100 meters above sea level, which by reflecting the sun’s rays manages to indirectly illuminate the main square for 6 hours a day.
The mirror, a work designed by Arch. Giacomo Bonzani, rotates thanks to a motor controlled by a computer that changes the inclination optimizing the reflection of the sun, constantly illuminating and heating the town square with a concentrated beam of light.
In 2013 in Rjukan, a Norwegian town with the same problem as Viganella, deprived of direct sunlight for six months a year, they took the Italian project as an example, creating three maxi rectangular mirrors, for a total of 500 square meters, installed on the crest of the mountain opposite, which direct the sun’s rays towards the central square of the town illuminating it for several hours of the day.