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Out of the Shadows

February 2007

How is a giant mirror bringing light to a valley-floor settlement in the Italian Alps?

Out of the shadows

Villagers in the Italian Alps are enjoying bright winters for the first time in their lives.

Thanks to a giant mirror, they are no longer deprived of sunlight for three months a year. From high on the valley side above the village of Viganella, a 40 m2 mirror now reflects sunlight down into the main square. It is computer-operated and can change direction to constantly follow the sun’s path. In the future, it could play a vital role in helping tourism and businesses while preventing more people from migrating away.


This short resource looks at the linkage between aspect and settlement; and can be used as an example to investigate issues of tourism; migration and the effect on ecosytems. Additionally the article can be used as an example in decision making exercises.

In the Members' Area:

  • Why was the mirror needed?
  • How was the mirror built?
  • What will be the impact of the mirror?

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