Welcome to the Hobbits’ Shire… of Abruzzo.
In the countryside of Bucchianico, near the town of Chieti, Nicolas Gentile is building his Halfling’s Shire, inspired by JRR Tolkien’s fictional Middle-earth described in the wildly popular novel and films “Lord of the Rings.”
A geology and pastry chef, 37-year-old Gentile is planning to recreate the Hobbits’ Shire, which he has named ‘Contea Gentile,’ both from his last name and because kindness is the attitude that inspires the entire project. Through a crowdfunding campaign, Gentile plans on building a Great Hobbit House, with corridors, guest rooms, lounges, dining rooms, role play rooms, and four smaller hobbit houses, for guests to come and play, and even spend the night.
The Hobbits’ Shire of Abruzzo will be spread over two hectares amid the hills, woods and rivers of Abruzzo, in an idyllic place that recalls the “wonderful, bucolic and rural place where the hobbits lived.”
“I have decided to build the Halfling’s Shire to share it with all those in whose heart there are kindness, courage and simplicity,” writes Gentile on his website.
As reported on the website, Gentile says he expects the Contea Gentile to be ready for guests starting from summer 2022. He advises against visiting at the moment as it is still a work in progress - he wants people to ‘marvel 100%” at the finished project.
Gentile’s endeavor has been getting much attention on Italian and international media, so much so that even actors Elijah Wood, Sean Astin and Billy Boyd, who play hobbits Frodo, Sam and Pippin in the trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, have noticed and expressed their support for ‘Gentile Shire.’
In a video posted on Gentile’s Instagram profile, Wood says, “Help Nicolas build the Shire. I find it incredible what you are doing. I love all the costumes and photos you shared in front of the fire and with a pipe. I also find the design of the County a perfect replica, and I can't wait to see all the progress…”
Learn more about what has inspired Gentile to build his Shire in the video below (for the English translation, turn on English subtitles).