Here’s someone living their dream: Nicolas Gentile, a 37-year-old pastry chef, has purchased two hectares of land in the Italian countryside. There, he’s in the process of building a real-life Shire, inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Gentile has already built his first hobbit-esque house, where he lives with his family in hobbit clothes; his plans include building Tolkien’s caravan of the dwarves, the green dragon inn and a large version of Bilbo Baggins’s house. An adjoining farmhouse will house visitors.
Before Gentile began his project, he was just a regular Tolkien fan—but decided he would prefer to live a hobbit life himself rather than “read about the lives of other people.” But living life like a hobbit wasn’t a reach for Gentile. According to Gentile, residents of Bucchianico—where his hobbit village is based—already live like Tolkien characters: “Over time, I realize that my friends, my relatives and the farmers of Bucchianico have always lived as hobbits,” Gentile told The Guardian. “They work like hobbits, carrying out jobs that are all in close contact with nature. They celebrate like hobbits by organizing festivals and dances and even dress up as hobbits.”
Gentile, an environmentalist with a degree in geology, plans to power his hobbit village with solar energy. His environmentalism also sparked a recent journey (by foot, in hobbit fashion) to Naples to throw the “One Ring” into Mount Vesuvius. (He used a piece of solidified lava rather than iron.) As Gentile put it, “Pollution and the climate emergency . . . are enemies as fearsome as Sauron.”
Even though construction on the village isn’t finished, Gentile’s house is open to visitors—so next time you’re in Bucchianico, stop on by.