Giant mirror to be used to cast sunshine on mountainous village in Switzerland

Local officials said Monday they are considering the construction of a giant mirror to light up this mountain village whose 198 residents are deprived of sunlight for three months each year.

The project would help illuminate parts of the southeastern Swiss town of Bondo that lie so deep in the Bregaglia Valley they do not receive any sunlight between December and February, said mayor Renzo Giovanoli, confirming a report in the daily Suedostschweiz.

"That would be added value for our town," Giovanoli said. "We came to a consensus at the village assembly that the study of the project should be further assessed so that we can decide on it in the summer."

The mirror would be similar to an eight-by-five meter (26-by-16 feet) sheet of reflective steel installed last year in Viganella, an Italian town close to the Swiss border. Viganella, like Bondo, is dark during winter months because of its position at the bottom of a steep Alpine valley, blocked off from sunlight by the surrounding mountains, the AP reports.

The Viganella mirror, which follows the sun's path using a remote computer, cost EUR 100,000 (US$130,000).

Bondo residents are expected on Sunday to see this winter's first rays of sunlight hit the town square.

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