The Sun is Going to Shine in Viganella
Not really but those are just the lyrics to Buon Natale, which means Merry Christmas in Italian.
Although there is a town called Viganella in Italy. A town way up in the Alps that always finds itself in complete darkness for 84 days, beginning each November 11 when the sun is blocked out by a high mountain.
With the sun not shining in the town the inhabitants lived a depressed life, a scenario which doctors call the ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ or SAD.
The younger generation simply left town, leaving only the elderly behind. Fewer and fewer children were born, until Viganella faced the threat of extinction. Flowers would die, temperatures would plummet and laundry would take forever to dry. One day, however, one of its brave young man decided he’d had enough. His name was Pierfranco Midali, who was a railway man. Instead of jumping on a train to seek the sun elsewhere, Midali got himself elected as mayor and came up with a shining bright idea: “I’ll bring the sun to Viganella!” he proclaimed.
Pierfranco had a plan, that was reported by the BBC on the 7th of November 2005 to mount a giant mirror on the mountainside to reflect sunlight into the main piazza. A motorized mirror could track the sun, always reflecting it into the square.
According to this plan on a clear day there would be five hours of sunlight in the piazza even in mid-December. In theory, it could be snowing in the village, but so long as the sun was out further up the valley, Viganella’s piazza could have snow and sunshine at the same time.
For seven long years, Midali worked and traveled around the land, begging local authorities and private sponsors to give him the money required to put it into practice his idea began to take shape, people from around the world began to show an interest.
Finally, on a cold late November morning of 2006, a helicopter suddenly appeared on the horizon, carrying a huge mirror, eight metres wide by five metres tall with a powerful computer that would move the mirror around so as to capture the sun’s rays and convey them on the town’s square for up to eight hours a day.
The town will have a big inauguration party, scheduled for December 17 2006, to celebrate the arrival of the first winter sun ever in the town’s nearly 800 years of existence.
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