An Italian village that spends over three months – November to February – in darkness has “built its own sun”. How? Using a large mirror to reflect light downwards!
TikTok user Dr Karan Rajan explained how the village of Viganella spends around three months in darkness since it is situated at the bottom of a steep valley and is surrounded by mountains that block out the light. Primarily, the southern side of the valley is so sheer that generally on November 11, the sun vanishes and does not reappear until February 2.
Dr Karan said, “This is Viganella – a town plunged into darkness for 90 days between November and February. It’s surrounded by mountains and steep valleys which block the sun’s rays.”
He added, “The lack of sunlight meant the townsfolk experienced falling serotonin levels – the alertness hormone. Lack of natural light can have negative impact on mood, sleep, energy levels and crime rates.”
The village fitted a towering mirror in 2006, which is sized against a 26×16-foot sheet of steel and has been placed on a nearby peak to reflect sunlight onto Viganella’s main square. The computer-operated mirror slab will constantly follow the sun’s path and reflect the rays to the sun-deprived town. The installation was completed on August 22.
According to the BBC, the project cost €100,000 euros which has been financed by the regional authorities and local bank itself. Dr Karan explained, “The mirror reflects light for six hours a day, allowing people to socialise.”
In 2008, Midali Viganella Mayor Pierfranco Midali had said, “The idea behind the project doesn’t have a scientific basis, but a human one. It comes from a desire to let people socialise in winter when the town shuts down due to the cold and the dark.”
Interestingly, Viganella isn’t the only place to “build its own sun”. Rjukan in Norway set up a similar project in 2013.