Cycling

Hobbit Village Or Berceto, Italy?

The new film will be called The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey and the first trailer has just been released. These two shots from that trailer remind me of my cycle to Berceto, high in the Italian Apennine mountains where I stayed at an idyllic camp-site near the Passo della Cisa. It was cycling day 20 along the Eurovelo 5 road to Brindisi and I had just experienced a couple of stressful days trying to address issues with spokes;

I followed the sign and to my delight, after only a few minutes I found Camping i Pianelli.  Now, who needs an expensive film set in New Zealand when you could come to make your film about Hobbits at Camping i Pianelli, just outside Berceto? I half expected Bilbo Baggins to pop his head round the corner of the reception or for Gandalf to summon me to his cottage. Set into a steep hillside over-looking a gorgeous valley, all you would have needed to do would be replace the mobile homes with a few wooden ones and grow grass on the roofs. Hey presto! An instant Hobbit village.

It was a very pleasant young woman rather than Frodo who dealt with me at the reception. I was quickly getting the impression that this camp-site had been worth the effort and not insignificant amount of stress involved in wondering whether it existed in the first place and then actually finding it.  It was pretty, quiet, well-maintained and even had an area set aside for campers with small tents which I only had to share with one other camper, an Italian called Guido. He was also on a bike and, like me, was heading for the coast the following day. He had a rainbow flag that he attached to a bush with the word ‘pace’ or ‘peace’ in white letters on the front. I’m not sure what particular point he was trying to make but it certainly summed up that idyllic evening high in the Apennine mountains. It seemed the perfect place to raise a toast to my small, Italian A Team; my camp-site advisor Signor Arizona, my guardian angel Angelo and my mechanic Alessandro all of whom had played their part in making this another memorable day on my way to Brindisi.

Here is the trailer, filmed, I believe, in New Zealand rather than an obscure camp-site in central Italy.

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