Between November 11 and February 2, the northern Italian village of Viganella is thrust into darkness. Because of this tiny town's location at the bottom of a valley, the tall Alpine mountains blot out the Sun for approximately 83 days. For centuries, villagers endured winters of unrelenting shade.

But in 2006, the hamlet's mayor, Pierfranco Midali, teamed up with designer Giacomo Bonzani to build a computerized, 40-square-meter mirror on a nearby mountainside. This €100,000 mirror — which tracks the Sun's movement across the sky — fires a beam of light into the town square.

This contraption has become an offbeat tourist attraction for Viganella and was even the subject of the 2009 documentary Lo Specchio, whose trailer you can watch above. Yes, this is more or less the reverse of that Simpsons episodes where Mr. Burns blots out the Sun (en Español).

[Via Oddity Central]