You don't have to travel to Willy Wonka's world of pure imagination to see a multi-directional elevator. Instead, take a trip to Genoa, Italy and visit the Ascensore Castello d’Albertis-Montegalletto. As Gizmodo reports, the elevator was featured in the YouTube video above, which follows world traveler Tom Scott as he documents his trip to Italy to continue what he calls a "Weird European Infrastructure Tour."
In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the Wonkavator could move "sideways, and slantways, and longways, and backways, and squareways, and frontways, and any other ways that you can think of." The Genoa elevator is a more practical version.
Because of the hilly terrain, Scott explains, the city has a number of elevator cars on tracks that move diagonally. But one elevator he encountered has a slightly different path. It travels horizontally through a tunnel before switching directions to ascend up a shaft.
So exactly how does the elevator work? "There are two separate systems here," he explains. "It's the same hack that Disney use for the 'Tower of Terror' at their theme parks. The bit that the passengers get into can only go horizontally on its own. It attaches to a cable that pulls it along. When it reaches the lift shaft, it's actually getting into another, bigger elevator."
Learn more in the video above.