Episode 9 - Guardea - Labor of Love

With Debra Carol Haddock

This episode takes us to Guardea, Italy to meet Debra, host of Casa Prato de Coccinelle, and her boyfriend, Ruggero.  In Guardea, we explored challenges that arise from the ease of entry offered by the vacation rental industry, and find out how passion and a love for the process can be used to meet those challenges.  Debra is a talented architect who has taken the Italian concept of recupero to heart, breathing new life into what was once a farmhouse shared by many local farmers.  It is now a spectacular vacation home, which Debra and Ruggero have begun to rent out on Airbnb, Homeaway and Booking.com.  The guests they've had have fallen in love, but they don't receive as many bookings as they might like.  We arrived at the beginning of the season and were blown away by how much passion and dedication goes into every inch of the property and grounds, and learned a lot about what really matters in this business...working hard at something you really love.

The Property

Casa Prato de Coccinelle is a stunning Italian farmhouse, painstakingly renewed and expanded by Debra into a stunning vacation property.  Old-world feel on the inside brings thick walls, a well equipped kitchen, five cool and quiet bedrooms, each with their own sitting room and modern bathrooms, appliances and a swimming pool complete the experience.  Expansive view of the Tevere and Tuscany are available from every corner of the property.  We were at home here, and did not wish to leave. 


Key Daytrip - Orvieto

Orvieto is a small city perched on a rock cliff in Umbria, Italy with a fantastic cathedral and an underground cave network that attests to the city’s Etruscan roots. Artifacts from this era, like ceramics and bronze items, are on view at the National Archaeological Museum.  Less than a half an hour from the house, Orvieto makes the perfect day trip from Casa Prato de Coccinelle.  We shopped for olive wood utensils, strolled and drank champagne, and were blown away, underground.  Watch the Orvieto section.


A local from the town of Montecchio named Fabrizio took us on the mountain biking ride of a lifetime.  Olive fields, amber waves of grain, and ancient tombs...this is one bike ride you won't want to miss when visiting.  


Key Additional Links from the Show

Our gift: Noted travel blogger Livia Hengel's article: Escape to Umbria


We would love to hear from you!

What was your biggest takeaway from this episode?  Do you have a question or comment about the show, or host, or destination?  Please write us below, or leave a comment on Youtube, Facebook, or hit us up on Instagram.


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