Who among us has not wished we could live in the magical world of The Lord of the Rings? Well, Nicolas Gentile, an avid LOTR fan and a particular fan of hobbits, is striving to bring the Shire into our world. And he’s having great success. This real-life hobbit has built a real-life Shire, journeyed to destroy the ring, and knows how to throw a party.
On his website, he explains his project, titled “The Gentle County.” Gentile shares:
My name is Nicolas Gentile and I have decided to build the Shire of Hobbits, to share it with all those in whose heart there are kindness, courage and simplicity. I’m a geologist, pastry chef, creator of events and soon also the Mayor of the County! My purpose in life is to see the wonder in the eyes of others and to live a great life with them!
Gentile further notes that his real-life Shire project has two distinct aims, a spiritual “human” one and a more practical “experiential” one. Practically, Gentile intends to build “a Big House, with corridors, guest rooms, lounges, dining rooms, rooms for the role-playing game where you can stay and live in comfort. There will then be four other smaller houses scattered among meadows and woods.” And, of course, all of this will be surrounded by rivers, hills, and all manner of hobbit-approved wildlife.
But for Gentile, the spiritual aim has the most significant draw. He says that without it, the Shire would amount to nothing more than a tourist trap. Which is not, he feels, in the spirit of the hobbits. For Gentile, the most beautiful part of The Lord of the Rings is the friendship between the main characters. What is the Shire, after all? If not a familiar place filled with people you know. Bringing the Shire to life requires that spirit. “The Gentile Shire will be a living place, in all respects!” Gentile concludes, “Those who come will find what they need most, be it peace or friendship, or fun or adventure!
Though the Shire is not quite ready for full-time guests, it has played host to several themed parties. Including, of course, Bilbo Baggins’ birthday. In December, the Shire also celebrates Durin’s Day, an important dwarven observance. (And one that figures significantly into The Hobbit.)
For those worried any evil may lurk in the land, fear not. To fund this real-life Shire, our real-life hobbit collected a fellowship and set off on a journey to destroy the ring. Though he braved orcs and other dangers, Gentile was able to throw the ring into the depths of Mount Vesuvius. Many points for attention to detail. We also love that Gentile seeks to incorporate modern technology with the hobbits’ more old-timey ways. It honestly sounds like the perfect vacation to us. We’ll see you at the feast.