Debbie Travis has been a fixture on Canadian TV screens for years and now she’s back with a new series and a new challenge: restoring a 13th century farmhouse in Tuscany from the ground up, with the renovated structure to be used as a unique women’s retreat.
The six-part OWN docu-series La Dolce Debbie follows Travis as she transforms a medieval watchtower and farmhouse into a luxurious 14-bedroom all-woman’s retreat. It’s not an easy road, as she finds herself forced to adhere to rigid historical protection laws and red-tape committees while struggling to grasp the language and assimilate to a new culture — in addition to wrapping her head around what it takes to run a 100-acre farm with 800 olive trees and a flourishing vineyard.
“I had this idea of building something in italy and inviting other women over,”; Travis tells ET Canada’s new Reporter Jake Mossop. “The documentary doesn’t really show the retreat so much, it shows the journey, my journey but also the journey of three women who have invested in themselves to come to this week.”;
The series culminates with the retreat’s grand opening, as 17 women from throughout the world are scheduled to arrive, and Travis admits she and her crew were “working right up till the last minute.”;
Once the women arrived and renovations were completed, Travis was able to let her hair down. “It’s like girls’ night out,”; she says. “When girls go on girls’ night out they come back and they go, “That was fantastic — we laughed, we drank, we danced on the table, it was such a good time.'”;
Now that her retreat is up and running, if she could choose one female celebrity to spend time with in Tuscany, who would she choose?
“Maybe I’ll take Gwyneth Paltrow,”; Travis tells Mossop. “She gets knocked but she’s cool.”;
La Dolce Debbie premieres Tuesday, February 16.
Watch Mossop’s first ET Canada interview with Travis tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Global! And check out the video below of Mossop, a registered nurse, tending to Travis’ broken foot.