A 37-year-old man named Nicolas Gentile has been hard at work, literally trekking across mountains and rivers, as part of his heroic quest to become Italy’s first real-life hobbit and to build his own version of the Shire. Now, perhaps because they’d all like to one day retire there, The Lord Of The Rings’ hobbit actors have lent their support to Gentile’s project on Instagram.
We first learned about Il Hobbit from a Guardian article published last week, which described (and provided excellent photos showing) Gentile’s efforts to prove his immense devotion to Tolkien’s fantasy world by dressing up as a hobbit and building his own version of the Shire in order to, he says, “live my hobbit life to the fullest.”
Gentile lives in a town called Bucchianico in the Abruzzo region of Italy and works, in suitably hobbitish fashion, as a pastry chef. To become a hobbit, he hangs out “in hobbit clothes” with his family on a tract of land in the countryside where he’s built a house and plans to construct “the caravan of the dwarves, the Green Dragon Inn, [a] large version of Bilbo Baggins’ house” and, eventually, a full-on “hobbit village” that runs on solar power.
Gentile says he realized “over time” that everyone he knows in Bucchianico has “always lived as hobbits” because they work “in close contact with nature” and celebrate festivals in traditional clothes that are sort of hobbit-like. Inspired by this revelation, he decided to build his own Shire and just lean right into the concept.
At the end of August, he and a bunch of other Rings cosplayers “walked more than 120 miles” to throw “a ring” into Mount Vesuvius that actually ended up being a piece of hardened lava because Gentile is an environmentalist who didn’t want to litter. The trek was meant to raise awareness about the threats of “pollution and the climate emergency, which are enemies as fearsome as Sauron.”
Doing so seems to have caught the attention of noted hobbit thespians Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, and Sean Astin. Yesterday, as The Guardian reports, Gentile posted a video on Instagram where the trio joined his fellowship by voicing their support for his project and speaking some presumably rough Italian.
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