Where the Sun Don’t Shine

November 16, 2016 / Local Interest
Viganella, Piemonte

This small town is located near the Swiss border about 120 kms. from Torino, in the Piemonte region. Piemonte means the foot of the mountain, although Viganella’s case it’s more like the crook of the mountain.


In general most towns in Italy tend to be superbly located… perhaps Viganella came late to the quaint Italian town positioning session. You see, due to its location tucked at the bottom of a steep valley, Viganella ends up without sunlight for 83 days of the year during winter.

That said, in 2006 the Viganellesi decided to take matters in their own hands and built a large mirror on one of the hills far above the town. Mounted on a motor to turn as the sun moves across the sky, it bathes the main piazza and church in sunlight during those dark months (until February 2nd, when natural sunlight returns again which Viganella celebrates with an big annual festa, naturally).


Last year however the motor konked out, and so had to be sent away to be serviced. Fortunately, Viganella’s heliostat is back in working order this year, to the happiness of its residents no doubt.



by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

15 Responses to “Where the Sun Don’t Shine”

  1. Linda Boccia

    It seems like Viganella is the little village that could….! Just like the child’s story of the little engine (train) that could for those of you who have never heard of that children’s story.

  2. Rosemary Johnson

    What a beautiful town and great story! Always love the pictures you include.

  3. Patricia Cooney

    Very interesting story! I learn so much from your articles. Thank you!

  4. Maureen Day

    Doesn’t the writer realize what the expression “where the sun don’t shine” means as in ” Stick it where the sun don’t shine? Please keep this site above that type of humour.

  5. Mary Lynne Simpson

    I LOVE this!! Way to outfox the universe, folks! :) And Maureen, yes, we all know how the phrase is commonly used, but it’s an appropriate and witty title for this post because “the sun don’t shine” there. Ease up a little…

  6. Marianna Raccuglia

    Another interesting article, with great photos. Someone thought “out of the box” and the result was more sunshine. I also like your sense of humor!

  7. I think Maureen needs to “lighten up”!!
    GB-you are the best! You brighten our day with your lovely articles about a place we love so much! Thank you!

  8. Mairin O'Mahony

    This was the last Italian Notebook I have received. Are you “off air” again or is it il pezzo di m*rd* che me passa come computer?


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