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pianta sullo sfondo di casa eroica, con sopra la scritta e le coordinate di aiole in chianti, sui toni del bordeaux

As part of the project for the enhancement of the former Cantine Ricasoli complex, promoted by the Municipality of Gaiole in Chianti, Opera Laboratori and Eroica present a new exhibition space, called Casa Eroica, inaugurated at the opening of the 26th edition of L’Eroica, an event conceived in 1997 by Giancarlo Brocci that has since grown to become a real network of events, capable of engaging tens of thousands of enthusiasts all over the world. ‘

The inauguration of Casa Eroica,’ says Michele Pescini, Mayor of Gaiole in Chianti, ‘marks the beginning of the second 25 years of L’Eroica in Gaiole in Chianti. A space which, thanks to the strong partnership forged with Opera Laboratori , which together with L’Eroica I would like to thank, will tell its story and relate its values every day of the year to all those who come to visit us. Today, in fact, we are only unveiling the first part of this great project to promote the territory, which will be completed next Christmas, when we will meet again to celebrate its completion and also attend the opening of the new archaeological museum Alle origini del Chianti.

L’Eroica has allowed us to tell the world about our microcosm of happiness, touching the soul of each one of us, and Gaiole in Chianti has allowed this to happen, making it emblematic. Parish churches, castles, wine, dirt roads, tradition, friendship, culture, identity, happiness, lifestyle: a concentrate of our essence for the world and for ourselves. From today it is enriched by a place, Casa Eroica, which is above all the home of a unique story to be experienced all year round’.

The layout of the exhibition at Casa Eroica, organised in collaboration with ETT, a digital and creative industry with which Opera Laboratori has already developed other projects, follows a succession of different thematic moments. It unfolds in different rooms in which interactive stations, animated artwalls, immersive projections and VR experiences available in Italian and English accompany visitors as they retrace the emotions and history of Eroica, revealing its testimonies and conveying its values. 

The tour begins with the section entitled Castles of Gaiole, which introduces the visit with a look at the territory, a distinctive and essential element of the event. A touch monitor offers thirteen screens that explore, with images and descriptive content, the history and interesting facts of as many castles, identified on the map and selectable by touch. The visit continues in the immersive Mondo Eroica room, which transports visitors in an original and engaging experience, immersing them in the breathtaking territory of Gaiole in Chianti and its fascinating history. In a journey through time and space, with a complex projection on all the walls, visitors can relive the atmospheres of the different editions, from the origins of the event to the present day. The bicycle emerges with its mechanical parts, along with the settings. During the experience, visitors are enveloped by images of vintage bikes in motion and experience the feeling of being on the route, in the heart of the Terre di Siena. In fact, the immersive room is not only a tool used to narrate L’Eroica, but also the charming places it passes through. Front, side and floor projections envelop the visitor, with a series of moving shots of the ride in cinematic style using advanced chasing and camera car techniques, and drone flights spanning the terrain from above, with very high definition close-up moving images. Meanwhile, the guest can choose whether to walk ideally following the projection on the ground of one of the famous dirt roads or step into the shoes of a rider, by sitting on the saddle stools in the room. A soundtrack of specially composed original music completes the immersive experience.

Next comes the Nei Panni degli Eroici section (In the Shoes of L’Eroica riders): a wall, where gears and bicycle parts are graphically reproduced, welcomes the visitor who can create his or her own avatar on two touch monitors, by choosing physical characteristics and clothing. In addition to the digital reproductions of the characteristic Eroica garments, visitors can also select the background from various proposals (Gaiole in Chianti, Montalcino, California), and compose a personalised digital postcard to be sent by email.

Going up to the first floor of the Complex, the tour leads to the gallery Le Voci degli Eroici (The Voices of L’Eroica), where visitors hear the stories of the protagonists of L’Eroica in a video of their testimonies, collected in a narrative with a strong emotional impact. Thanks to exclusive interviews – realised in collaboration with Canale 3 Toscana – original footage, archive material, computer graphics effects and engaging editing, personal stories show the iconic moments and evolutions that has helped transform L’Eroica into a real community of enthusiasts worldwide. The event is recounted here through the eyes of those who have experienced it, from experts to novices, starting with the cyclist’s special relationship with the bicycle and ending with the dialogue established with the Sienese territory, furrowed by dirt roads.

Cycling is associated with fatigue, but also with the satisfaction and fun that emerges from the smiles of all the protagonists. Back down on the ground floor, the section entitled Locandine storie a colori (Colour story posters ) brings to life the charm of the event through illustrations recalling the various editions, embodying the spirit of L’Eroica and the people who write its history each year. The corridor hosts a striking wall with graphic reproductions of bicycles and prints of the original paper posters. On the opposite side, a large artwall shows historical posters publicising L’Eroica events, both in the Terre di Siena and around the world.

The visitor then reaches an evocative environment that appeals to the senses to recreate the dirt road, guiding him or her on a real journey into the world of Eroica. The In Volo su Gaiole (In Flight over Gaiole) section features virtual reality stations. The VR experience creates new narrative horizons and engages viewers in an immersive journey through the territory. It is thus possible to fly over the castles of Gaiole in Chianti, enjoying a unique view, in a spectacular dialogue between architecture and nature, thanks to a drone with a very high resolution camera, modified and entirely assembled by the ETT team, in order to achieve maximum quality and stability.

The 2023 edition of L’Eroica will also offer a formidable opportunity to shoot exclusive virtual reality footage captured from multiple points of view, from the start to the finish line, following the main stages of the route both from aerial perspectives with drone flight, and from cameras spread along the route, with subjective and objective angle shots. Participants will thus be protagonists in the Virtual Reality experience of future visitors, actively taking part in the story of Casa Eroica. In one corner of the room, a Cycle workshop is reproduced, another important feature of the L’Eroica world.

Next to it, an interactive station offers a touch monitor inviting visitors to select the experience they prefer between Officina Eroica, where they can virtually create and customise their own bicycle, and Quiz Eroica, a fun game designed to test their skills and increase their knowledge of the event. The experience is enhanced by the Ristoro, a place where heroes with various backgrounds and personalities come to life and swap stories while sharing a meal. The experience inspired by conviviality reflects the atmosphere of friendship and reunion characteristic of the stops along the route, emphasising ‘the beauty of fatigue, and the thrill of conquest’, the motto of L’Eroica. The bookshop and Bottega Eroica close and open this setting with publications and merchandising by the Sillabe publishing house. Casa Eroica will be open to the public from Monday 2 October 2023.