Dinner with "Me"

Tuscan Getaway Team - Thursday, August 01, 2019

Dinner with "Me"

Hi everyone,

Please join me Sunday August 18th, 2019 | 5:30pm-8:00pm, for an enchanting evening of fine wine, a delicious Italian gourmet sit-down dinner prepared by Chef Julien Laffargue, live music and me at Ricarda’s Toronto.

I will be chatting about how to design your next chapter and finding your vitality. There are just a few spaces left. More details for the event are here:

Click here to get your ticket for Sunday Dinner

So looking forward to meeting everyone for great chats, delicious Italian food and wine and great music.

A presto


For more information, please contact Zoe van Empel from Ricarda's Restaurant 

or contact us at info@tuscangetaway.com


Throwback to my childhood

Tuscan Getaway Team - Thursday, August 01, 2019


When I was nine years old my father built me my own house. More of a rough wooden cube but it became my beloved childhood den. My dad was an engineer, not of clever bridges or fancy buildings but of machines that made sweets. He designed and built the machines that made some of the candies we all still enjoy today. My special 'playhouse' was constructed of two gigantic wooden packing cases that would have originally contained the copper cauldrons that boiled the sugar that then hardened into sweets. They were probably only about three meters square but to me they were heaven, my very own Downton Abbey. One wooden crate was lowered into a perfectly fitting hole that he'd dug by hand. He cut a trap door in the top of the underground one and a second one then sat above. Then he made a door and window. When the bad guys came a knocking (the local boys) my best friend Zabe and I would open the secret door in the floor, slide down a rope and hide in the 'basement!' We even tried to wallpaper the walls but with the never-ending damp of the North of England we would often be woefully greeted with soggy rolls of peeling paper. I never forgot our special place and the games that occupied us in there far away from adult eyes.

I am playing house again. With a little more budget than my packing cases I have built three wooden huts around Villa Reniella in Tuscany. Two of which are used for the daily massages for our guests and the third I have commissioned for myself. It is to be my new writing office. There is no electricity, water or insulation but it has a view that is breathtaking across the valley to the famous San Biaggio, a large renaissance church built over an Etruscan site. The writing cabin sits on the edge of our oak wood surrounded by young olive trees and is far enough away from the main house that I can block out the hustle and bustle of life at the villa. I hope the quiet and the view will inspire me. You see, I am about to embark on my next book. When I wrote my previous one - Design Your Next Chapter, I was like a nomad. I was travelling a great deal and had one small suitcase crammed with notes and reading stuff. This time will be different. My deadline is painfully tight for this book, (thank you Anne - my wonderful editor at Penguin Random House) so I need to stay put in my wee house and concentrate.

a presto




Tuscan Getaway Team - Friday, September 21, 2018


ONCE upon a time... there was a girl who lived in a magical place. Just being in this place made her feel healthy and she brimmed with vitality. In fact she felt so good about herself that she decided to share the sense of utopia with other like-minded girls. She invited them to join her amongst the olive groves and vineyards at her villa in Tuscany. They came from all corners of the globe. Nearby was a medieval hilltop town surrounded by a massive wall. In the center was a grand palazzo. Inside this stoic palace they wandered through the cool, dark hallways that eventually lead them to a stone staircase. They climbed down, deep into the bowels of the ancient building. The old cantina, once used to store oil, cheeses and ham hocks was now a brilliant Aladdin's cave of the most sensational treasures. Exquisite necklaces, rings, pendants and charms draped from every surface and behind glass doors were displays of glittering earrings and chains. The girls froze. There was a communal intake of breath at the marvels ahead. Then the spell was broken and in a frenzy of joyful expectation they rushed towards the bounty of shiny pieces.

This is not a complete fairy tale story. The day I first visited this emporium which, yes, is below a once grand palazzo, I too was enthralled by the jewelry but even more so by the story shared by the owner Sebastian. His great, great-grandfather had started the business of fine jewelry making decades ago and now into its fourth generation they welcome guests to their workshops and showroom. For seven years I have been taking the ladies from our getaways and have been filled with immense pleasure as I have watched them try on, cavort and simply relish in the joys of playing in this grown-up dress-up box. There has never been a soul who has not adored the designs and of course bought gifts for themselves and for others. Then my entrepreneurial ever-active brain thought "why not bring these pieces home so everyone can enjoy them." Sebastian and I worked together on a collection of different styles of chains, earrings and pendants and bracelets all designed in a unique gold finish around classic Roman styles such as coins and keys. We created a treasure trove of stunning pieces.

Today they are all available at my new on-line store - designed and made in Tuscany and delivered directly to your home. We have limited amounts though. These special pieces, at sensational prices are perfect for any look from everyday to that special occasion!

Visit Debbie's Shop here!


Design Your Next Chapter

Tuscan Getaway Team - Monday, July 09, 2018

You probably have dreamed of a next chapter, even kept a seed of an idea, or two or three, tucked away. And I’m sure that every now and then you find yourself thinking about that idea, wondering what it would really be like to dance to a new rhythm…

I had my own dream. Mine started with a tentative conversation with my husband about buying a simple holiday home in Italy, a small place to spend a few weeks each year pretending to live like the Italians do. But then this vision of la dolce vita took an abrupt turn and led me down a lifechanging path into a world so alien to me that I regularly pinch myself to make sure I’m not still dreaming.

Instead of a little vacation place, we ended up purchasing a large rundown villa and farm in Tuscany and renovated it into a 14-bedroom hotel. Not because I wanted to run a place for travellers to visit for a few days while exploring the glories of the region, but to create a haven where we could hold retreats. Originally, I thought we’d offer the occasional week-long girls getaway while I carried on with my television career, but the retreats soon took on a life of their own. They attracted people trying to ignite their passion once again. Those who’d hit a stone wall and were trying to find ways over, around or under it. Those who were suddenly single, or whose children had left home, and knew they had to do something to move on with their own lives. Those who had reached the tip of their learning curve and craved something new. Those who simply dared to dream about a new beginning and wondered what would happen if they tried something completely different?

Story after personal story unfolded as each guest inhaled the breathtaking views and tucked into memorable meals washed down with copious amounts of local wine. An eclectic mix of guests from Canada to Australia, England to Belgium, America to South Africa gathered each evening to share their stories and dream about new possibilities. As I listened with fascination to the tales of the dreamers and the doers a thread begin to appear. It is rather like buying a new car, where suddenly you see the model you chose everywhere. I had started a new chapter in my own life and now I was drawn to the inspirational stories of others. And I wanted to share them.

For Design Your Next Chapter, a book unlike any I’ve ever done, I interviewed souls from around the world that I’d met or read about. They had all reached a crossroads in life and had bravely turned away from the safety of the known and took an unfamiliar path. Then I intertwined these motivational stories of others with my own challenges and triumphs in Tuscany, plus oodles of advice and tools, to create a book I hope helps and inspires anyone contemplating or searching for a new act.

Grab yourself a chilled gin and tonic (just a splash of the later) with loads of ice and some slices of cucumber and curl up and have a read of this wee excerpt of my new book. Let me know what you think.

How to Realize Your Dreams and Reinvent Your Life 

An excerpt
Follow Your Dreams. They Know the Way

Dreams cost nothing, they have no calories, and they are wonderfully private. All of us dream. Babies dream, animals dream. Is there anything sweeter than watching a dog, flaked out by the fire, running free in its dreams or a baby smiling in her sleep? We can dream anywhere, and not just at night. We can daydream or indulge in wishful thinking, playing with a million ideas that most of us will never act on.

“What would it be like if one day I had my own little store, or went to work in an exotic country, or opened a rustic beach bar on a sundrenched island?”

Your mind chatters as you lie at the end of a yoga class in a savasana pose: “What if I took yoga more seriously and opened up my own studio one day?”

“Imagine if I could sell home-cooked meals to overworked mothers,” you wonder as your family eats your famous homemade stew, and tells you, “You should market this Mom—it’s amazing.” Maybe you should, you think to yourself.

Your mind wanders in the boardroom as you silently debate starting your own accounting firm. After all, you can do this job in your sleep. What if these people were your personal clients and you could work your own hours? Even from home?

Stuck in an endless meeting, you fantasize about being your own boss. That sweet bed and breakfast you walk past each day seems to be doing a roaring business. You can make a decent bed and are known for your delicious breakfasts. Turn the family cottage into your own B and B, what if.

Then that ugly, unsupportive inner voice rises up.

“You could never afford to open your own business. What about your steady paycheque and taking care of the family?”

Then there are the worse thoughts:
“I don’t have what it takes to pull this off.”
“I’m not clever enough, pretty enough or thin enough.”
“Where would I find clients and, even if I did, why would they want to hire me?”
“I don’t have the confidence, the contacts or the guts to do my own thing.”
“I will fail.”

That voice of disapproval and doubt has a point. The kids do still need you, your bank account is pathetic and the mortgage is a stone around your neck. Maybe you will fail, and your peers might enjoy witnessing that. People who are stuck in their own ruts do like to judge. After all, “Who does she think she is?”

But all these doubts are mostly excuses to stay put. And I’m here to tell you that the most successful entrepreneurs have had countless conversations like these in their heads. I certainly have.

Learn more about Debbie's book by clicking here

Pre-order link for Canadian readers

Pre-order link for American readers




Tuscan Getaway Team - Friday, June 01, 2018

As fifteen classic BMWs cars sauntered through a tiny medieval village there was a earth shattering roar. Alongside us the entire mesh fence in front of a school yard was filled with excited young children shouting and waving at us. Our bumper to bumper line of beautiful old cars stretched along the cobbled street. Some of the kids escaped the confounds of the school and ran along side us whooping with joy. Groups of men outside the town’s cafe turned from their card games and waved with respect. Mothers with strollers smiled at us. We’d had this reaction from the moment we left the glamour of Montecarlo and journeyed our way through northern Italy, final destination Villa D’Este on Lake Como.

Here we would join the Concours de Elegance, a beauty competition of the world’s most exotic classic cars since 1929. It is held in the gorgeous surroundings of this majestic hotel that entertains the worlds rich and powerful. The outfits of the exhibitors and the viewing public plus the over-the-top grandeur of this landmark hotel was mind boggling. But for this particular weekend it was the the elegant classic cars that held centre stage and like peacocks in heat they paraded their colourful feathers.
What is it about good design that we all appreciate and enjoy so much? Is it the hybrid between art and design with practicality thrown into the mix that has us smiling? Whether it is a perfectly formed table or in this case, a car created for pure pleasure and not just the practicality of getting from A to B, there is so much to admire. Good design, perfect lines, a colour that allows for a double take, all makes us beam without envy. There is always a story behind the creation of iconic designs. Many years ago I interviewed Alberto Alessi the Italian manufacturer of ageless, brilliantly designed household items and popular objects. He works with the world’s foremost designers and architects such as Philippe Starck, Alessandro Mendini and Frank Gehry to name but a few.

While I was in the middle of chatting to Mr. Alessi we were joined by his old friend Mr. Mendini. The pair were charming and funny. Mendini, designer of the Swatch Watch, and a lifetime of brilliance also invented the iconic wine bottle opener of which I have bought many for myself and for friends over the years (see picture).

It has a woman's head at the top of the neck. I asked him what was his inspiration for this memorable piece of workable art - it is also the longest lasting corkscrew I have ever owned - I do tend to wear them out through over-use! This was his design story. “This corkscrew is call-ed Anna (read in an Italian accent please) and she is a named after my a wife. Anna is a very tall and a very beautiful but like a most wives some a times you just want-a screw the neck. So, bella, this is how I came up with this idea for the perfect-a cork screw, my a wife”. Ok this is much funnier when I tell it in person!

When we embarked on the BMW classic car ride from the Southern France to Northern Italy I was fascinated by the enthusiasm and happiness these stunning cars gave to everyone who saw them. There was never any looks of jealously just an overall joy at witnessing something that was created many years ago with such great beauty. This was the best experience I have ever had and I'm eternally grateful to my better half for being part of the classic world of BMW. In fact I was so inspired that I will be creating a vintage car rally from my place in Tuscany next year.

Love Debbie

A Fashionable Throw Back Thursday

Tuscan Getaway Team - Thursday, March 01, 2018

As spring approaches, the fashion news is shouting out the new trends. Oh, what to wear this spring? This year I am thrilled to say that I am 18 years ahead of everyone. I have had several sarcastic comments already, mostly from my kids. “Look mum, you are finally in vogue!” Yes, the onesy, boiler suit, jump suit, dungaree, all-in-one, whatever you call that one-piece that was my signature dress for my first television series, The Painted House.

We began that show in the mid-nineties, as the DIY era was on the verge of explosion. In fact, The Painted House was pretty much the very first decorating show in North America. We had the tiniest budget, about $10,000 an episode, about what we’d spend on lunches years later on my bigger-budgeted shows with much, much larger crews. There was no money left for wardrobe and since I was constantly covered in paint, I was obviously not going to be wearing Dior! 

I had a pair of dungarees that I wore in the garden and my hubby, who was directing me in those early years (not pretty), thought they were cute, so I wore them for the first episode. They were so practical, not just because of the mess but also for continuity, a big part of television production. I had different coloured t-shirts underneath and could change quickly if we had to redo a previous sequence. The fans loved them too and so I started to brighten them up with different shapes and patterns and numerous colours. I was lucky that the Victoria’s Secret catalogue suddenly started selling them in numerous colours.

In fact, the craziest thing happened. In those years, the government kept a very close eye on the Television Production Industry, and a tax auditor was a constant feature at many production offices, including ours. One spring, a particularly bad tempered government auditor was ensconced in the small office we had allocated to her, desperately trying to catch us out on some kind of tax cheat, when she leapt from the room waving some bills. She told us that I was putting my sexy Victoria Secret underwear on the company accounts, waving the receipts hysterically at us. We explained, as one would to a petulant child, that this is where I bought the clothes for the show – jump suits. She did not believe us, so hubby was sent home to produce the evidence. He returned to the office with boxes full of paint splattered overalls, Victoria’s Secrets labels still attached, to the delight of our office staff and to the dismay of the defeated looking auditor.

After 7 years of shooting The Painted House collected hundreds of these overalls – where did they end up? I remember an astute member of the Facelift team, my next series that had a bigger budget and a better wardrobe, asking me if he could have the old pieces. I was never going to wear them again, so I filled the trunk of his car with piles of these colourful overalls. He put them on eBay. If only I’d kept them - I would have been so in vogue this spring.


Happy Spring everyone

~ Debbie


A year for new adventures & a special DESIGN-LOVERS RETREAT

Tuscan Getaway Team - Thursday, January 18, 2018

Photos by Stacey van Berkel

Love design, love decorating. Fancy a trip to both London and Tuscany with me – then read on:

These first weeks of the new year have so many of us giving up on something. No more booze as you tackle ‘dry January,’ not one more Quality Street until next Christmas, puddings after every meal – done with them and enough with the binge watching of constant Netflix series... they will be rationed!

I had an idea. Instead of all the negative ‘giving stuff up’ what about doing something completely different – jumping out of your comfort zone? Something that will change you forever. Take up a project that you would never ever normally consider and I promise it will lead you down a new fork in the road, a new friend, new adventure, new job. A new you for this new year.

A few years ago I did just that. I bought a rundown, ancient property in Italy and turned it into a magical haven where others can visit and dream of their own next chapters. I had no experience running any form of hotel, just making a neat bed was impossible for me. Now that we are in full swing and these weekly events have become my ‘everyday’ I am ready for a new adventure. This year I will create a one-off special week that will excite me and hopefully anyone who is in love with design, decorating and antiquing. I have always believed in following a path of what interests me and others will follow. 

My new idea for this shiny new year is a design trip with me, in London and Tuscany. Oh I am tingling all over just putting this together. It will be a one-off, first come first served. Ladies and gentlemen welcome. You just have to adore decorating either professionally or for your own home. I will guide you through my secret spots in London and Tuscany. So, I am up for something new and different. How about you?

Calling all design lovers...
Join me for an 8-day trip to London & Tuscany!
August 26 - September 3, 2018

To request more information about this unique experience, please email us at info@tuscangetaway.com or send us your information through here.

Here's to new adventures and an inspiring 2018! 

~ Debbie

The Fascinating World of Wine Tasting

Tuscan Getaway Team - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Four years ago I knew little about wine except that I loved to drink it and that Rosé was not a blend of white and red! I showed little interest in the world of wine, struggling through a restaurant wine list choosing basically by price. I am sure I am not alone in this.

How things have changed for me. Through the passionate wine growers I’ve met in Italy, my fascination with the grape has grown. I’ve met a chap who plays Mozart to his vines and his yield has increased so much that Bose (a world leader in speakers) has placed their speakers throughout his vineyard, and they are now studying this phenomenon in several universities. I befriended an elegant Italian woman who’d discovered words carved on ancient pillars in the cellar in her Tuscan villa. These turned out to be the scribblings of a worker in the 13th century who moaned about his boss. She named her wine after him. I have visited numerous wineries that are run entirely by women, a growing trend, I am happy to report. It is being finally recognized that female wine makers have an enormous talent for the grape. There is even a restaurant in London, Daphne’s, that offers in its wine list a category of wines produced by women.

When we bought our property in Tuscany it included a small vineyard that produced a foul red wine that left you with a three-day hangover. Luckily, we also had a large acreage that had already been signed off by the Italian organic agricultural society for a vineyard, so we planted fourteen rows of Sangiovese, the typical Tuscan grape and a few rows of Merlot.  That was five years ago and we now produce a reasonable, rustic red wine. The vineyard yields enough bottles to fill the glasses of all our Tuscan guests. It also planted the wine bug in us. We have become fascinated by wine production around the world.

Through pure serendipity, at the same time as our interest grew in Tuscany, we partnered with a marvelous family-run winery in Niagara, Canada – The Pillitteri Estate winery. Together, we launched a Canadian Pinot Grigio. This is available on-line and at the LCBO and the wine is so delicious that we ship forty cases each year to Tuscany for our guests and friends to enjoy. We often share a glass with our Italian neighbours who typically fall into fits of laughter at the thought of Canadian wine but the smirks are soon replaced with signs of surprised appreciation. The locals love this Pinot and we are thrilled that so many others do too. We’ve just won four international awards, three from the UK and one from the US. So proud.

In fact, the Pinot has sold so well that this year our partners at Pillitteri decided to take the leap and search for the ideal red wine that I could partner with from Tuscany. The team arrived at our place in the spring. It may sound like a dream task - a week of wine tasting - but I must tell you that even for me it was a grueling week. We hurtled across the Tuscan countryside tackling the different regions. First came Chianti, famous for, yes you guessed it, Chianti wines. Once renowned for the plonk we drank in cheap wine bars (remember the bottles used as wax dripped candle holders?), Chianti is now producing some awesome wines. We then headed to the area around our property which is known for the famous Nobile di Montepulciano, one of my favorite Tuscan wines. We ventured into Bolgheri and down its breathtaking cypress tree lined avenues. We drove up and down the famous white gravel roads of Montalcino sampling the stupendous Brunellos. Poor me, you’re thinking. I know life is tough but it wasn’t easy. The week resembled the fairytale, The Three Bears. We covered about thirty wineries – some were too big, some too small, some too cheap, some too expensive, some too dirty. The Pillitteri family have been in the wine business for over six decades and they know their stuff - they were looking for the perfect red wine from the right winery, at an affordable price and a superb wine. It was not easy. First of all, we tasted about ten wines at each winery. Of course, they are professionals and after sniffing and slurping, spat the nectar into buckets. I am a lady and I don’t spit, so by the end of each day I was legless. Happy though. In typical Tuscan hospitality copious amounts of food was laid out, whatever the time of day, for us to eat with the tastings. Not wanting to be impolite since some hardworking ‘nonna' had probably prepared everything fresh for us, we tucked in. Plates of salami, olives, focaccia, ham and a variety of cheeses filled long tables along with row upon row of glasses waiting to be filled. We nibbled, tasted, spat (not me) for a week. What a job. Finally, visiting the penultimate winery, we arrived in the hilly commune of Montalcino.

Several miles from the town, famous for the rich and expensive Brunellos, stands the Abbey of Sant Antimo. Legend has it that in 781 Charlemagne, the king, fell ill alongside many of his army. He made teas from the herbs that surrounded them and he and his soldiers were miraculously cured. To thank God for the return for his life, he built the abbey on this lush soil, or so the story goes. Here we had found our winery. Small in comparison to some of the others we’d visited, it sits high on a hill with rows of vines spilling down to the magical Abbey of Sant Antimo in the valley below. We were greeted by three generations of wine makers and proudly given a tour of the spotlessly clean cantina where the wines are made. As we tasted their Rosso di Montalcino, our team beamed with joy, as we were happy to have found the perfect winery to produce the next Debbie Travis vino. This week, the first sample bottles arrived in Canada. I designed the label myself, and the gold embossed cypress tree is symbolic of the richness of Tuscany that I adore.

On March 22nd, 2018 we will hold a celebration of the Debbie Travis Rosso di Montalcino in Toronto. Francesco, our chef from Italy will be there and he will cook for this special evening of fabulous gifts, wine tasting and fantastic food. If you have ever visited Tuscany come and walk down memory lane and share a great evening with me. If not, join us anyway for a delicious taste of Tuscany.

A presto!

Surviving Small Spaces

Tuscan Getaway Team - Friday, September 08, 2017


Wherever I go, I am always inspired by good design. I recently took to the Croatian Seas and sailed along the Dalmatian coastline with eleven great friends. Take note of the great friends bit. If you have ever wondered if a sailing holiday is something you would enjoy, choose the friends or family you will travel with very carefully. Any moaners, selfish or boorish pals must be left behind. Young children?  Hmmm. Think about it carefully if you want a restful holiday. Aged granny and grandpa, nah. Annoying siblings, don't go there. The reason for this pickiness is that, unless you are on a Beyonce-style super-yacht, the tight living quarters are exactly that. Tight! 

My best friend and I researched the variety of ways to explore the stunning Croatian coastline by boat. We decided on renting a gulet. These are two or three-masted sailing yachts that can sleep quite a gang. We worked with an agency, saildalmatia.com, who helped us choose a gulet called Perla, a sexy lady with sleek lines and mahogany fittings that were varnished to the highest sheen, plus plenty of navy and white pillowed lounging areas.

The week on board was magical. We explored the many islands along the coastline, tucked into delicious meals on deck and in rustic restaurants on shore, and drank copious amounts of local wine. We chatted endlessly, as a group of friends from around the world are apt to do, catching up on gossip, our kids and work. We had the most incredible time, but it was also a design lesson about small-space living. There was a plethora of clever ideas in these close living quarters that could be transferred from boat to home. The births (bedrooms) on a boat are snug to say the least, and as couples on this holiday, we had to waltz around each other to get ourselves into bed or dressed. If you live in a small space, you are well-aware of the challenges.

I was thirteen when I was awarded a bedroom of my own, finally separated from my siblings. It was in a converted old bathroom. Although the room was not much wider than a single bed, I loved it for the simple reason that it was mine. But I did have to be super inventive with storage. The need for shelves and baskets are self-evident for any teenager. I hung wire flower baskets from the ceiling, without the flowers of course. These were perfect for hairbrushes, clips and makeup, the staples of any teenage girl. I hung shelves made from found wood and chains, and stuck apple crates under my bed.

On our wooden gulet, as is the rule for all boats, storage is built into every nook and cranny. On the boat's deck, coffee tables were on swivels, easy to get around. This is such a great idea for a small condo. The large wooden dining table easily sat us all comfortably because of its angled corners. This impressed one of our guests so much she is copying the design for her cottage. It’s the ideal solution to continuously bruised thighs from banging into the corners of her existing one. I love to multi-task, so for me the perfect holiday was relaxing on Perla while checking out the ingenious design elements on our floating home.

Happy sailing.

~ Debbie


Happy guests make for a happy host

Tuscan Getaway Team - Friday, July 21, 2017


The heat and dust of this year’s Tuscan summer has left us floating around in a dreamlike haze.  We have come to the end of four quite incredible retreats and now I get to rest and enjoy my Italian home. Nearly eighty women and a few men (included in our gourmet getaway) have spent a week with my team and I at our Tuscan Getaway.  

Our guests have laughed and cried. They have shared stories and brainstormed ideas. They have eaten everything from formal, fancy dinners to bowls of lasagna made by a ’nonna’ in the local village. They have drunk copious amounts of alcohol from the very best Brunellos and Chianti wines, to the rustic red from my own vineyard. They have not only sipped on the sweetest Limoncello but have also made their own from over-sized Sicilian lemons. They have shared Aperol Spritz in the village bar with a bevy of farmers and nursed glasses of Prosecco while opening their hearts to us all. They have roared with laughter throughout their yoga classes and behaved like giggling teenagers while rolling pasta in the cooking class with Chef Francesco. They arrived here at Villa Reniella quite unsure of what to expect and I think they have all left with hearts swollen with happiness and minds inspired for the future.  

I have received marvelous letters from everyone and I thought I would share just a few. They have all come here for different reasons – whether exhausted from their day to day lives, ticking off their bucket list with an experience in this stunning part of the world or trying to find their passion for their own next chapter. It has been wonderful to share my home and I am privileged to have been able to be part of their lives, even if for a short time.  

~ Debbie 

Photo:  A fabulous Tuscan lunch on the terrace.

 “I’m still in awe of how 19 women gelled so quickly so well!  It was a week of fabulousness and I am just so grateful.”
California, USA

 “The only thing to say is – this week changed my life, forever!”

Photo: Great way to start the day – with a wee bit of morning yoga

“I am sitting at my desk at work and I am writing a list of changes that I am determined to make. I arrived at Debbie’s Girls’ Getaway unsure of why I was there. I did not know what to expect. I am a successful business woman but was exhausted and needed to get away. Never, in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this week would change my life. I inhaled the week… the food, the company of other women from all backgrounds and most of all the daily forums where we all talked and talked and talked. As I listened to others’ stories, my own next chapter began to unravel in my head. I am now on a new path. Debbie, I cannot tell you how excited and inspired I am for my future. Something just clicked for me at Villa Reniella with you and the entire astounding team.”
Melbourne, Australia

Photo: Our wonderful staff Eve and Marianna with our fantastic guests from Melbourne, Australia

“From the moment Ryan and I stepped onto Debbie’s property, we were made to feel like royalty. When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by Debbie personally, along with her entire team, we knew this was going to be an unforgettable experience!
Exploring the breathtaking and beautiful Tuscan countryside, with all its magnificent scenery, enjoying the fresh, seasonal, local food, drinking the delicious wines of the region, and experiencing a week of relaxing, introspecting, and discovering all that Tuscany had to offer was amazing! We did this all without the worries of work, kids, or our demanding daily routines – we managed to leave that all behind and really immerse ourselves into living in the moment and taking in every aspect of the Italian culture.
The atmosphere at the Villa was one of peacefulness, relaxation, and enjoyment, in addition to allowing for laughter and lighthearted fun. Ryan and I managed to reconnect on a personal level, not just as ‘mom and dad’, but as ‘husband and wife’, which was truly a necessity for our relationship. Not only did we cultivate our own relationship, but we developed new ones with interesting individuals, some of whom we still keep in touch with today.  I learned a lot at the Villa, not only about Italy, but about life in general. I have taken away some important life lessons, and have already started making changes at home with respect to diet, activity, and what’s really significant from day to day, which I am sure has already made me a better person. I feel truly blessed and thankful for having experienced the trip of a lifetime at Debbie’s Tuscan Getaway and I commend Debbie for being so inspirational, for opening up her home and sharing her life with perfect strangers and for impacting people’s lives in such a positive and profound way – thank you from the bottom of my heart!  La vita è bella!”
British Columbia, Canada

Photo: What a team!

“I am now home after my week spent under the Tuscan sun at Debbie Travis’ Girls’ Getaway. I have resumed my usual work/home routine. However, thanks to you and the whole Tuscan Getaway team my attitude and in turn my life has changed for the better!

I have become much more aware and mindful of what I do, what I eat, what I feel and how I conduct my life. I have come away from my week with more self-confidence and joie de vivre (I don't know how to say that in Italian!). Increasing the level of activity with walking and swimming everyday really made me feel good both physically and mentally. When I returned home I realized that even though we ate and drank so well and so much (with such good quality of food) I had lost three pounds!
What Debbie and the team have taught me is that I am worthy of my best effort and what I give out comes back to me manifold. When I take care of myself and my needs I am ready to give the world a better version of myself. Life is feeling much more precious right now and I don’t want to waste any of it! This week has been one of transformation for me. I am ready for a new chapter. I am studying to become a trained Colour Expert so that I can soon launch a business in colour consultation, something I love and enjoy.
Thanks so much for this life changing experience, I am so grateful to you all!”
Ontario, Canada

“It has been almost two weeks since leaving Villa Reniella. I have spent much of my time sharing many stories and pictures with my family and friends and reflecting on my Tuscan experience.  
My husband asked me, upon my return home, what my favourite part was. My reply was, there wasn't one thing or one day that was better than the other. Everything and every day was simply...PERFECT!!!  I can honestly say that I walked away feeling more inspired, grateful for the experience, more educated about the Italian culture and new friends. As I sit here writing this to you, I can't help but feel envious about the next group and wish that I could do it all over again!”
Manitoba, Canada


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Debbie’s newsletter is a peek into her life between London, Tuscany and Toronto – running her television company, Tuscan Retreats and living life to the fullest.