Villa Cappelli when found

You’ll learn what it was like for Paul and Steven as they discovered and renovated an ancient villa in Italy to the villa rental it is now.

You’ll discover:

  • Why you shouldn’t buy alcohol at Duty Free at the airport
  • What construction is like in Italy
  • Updates on our project that includes a cooking school, restaurant, bar, and store
  • Just how many houses Paul has renovated (Hint, it’s enough that if you need any advice, you can send him an email!)
  • The weird challenges that you face when renovating a huge stone structure
  • What recycling really means to us now in Italy
  • How guilds control some aspects of business in Italy
  • How Italians view older buildings like ours, and why they want modern and new homes
  • The cost of antiques here
  • What borage is and why Paul and Casey went hunting for it
  • A recipe for a local Puglia specialty, favetta
  • What kind of trees you’ll find along the country roads in Puglia and why (NOT olive trees in this case)
  • Why the cuisine of Puglia is la cucina povera
  • Our take on Italian restaurants and why they are so popular throughout the world
  • Paul’s shopping routine
  • Some surprises we found during construction
Some pics of the villa as we found it.
The villa before, as we found it.
The villa before, as we found it.
Villa after.
Villa after.
Inside before.
Inside before.
Inside after.
Inside after.

Wine Cellar before

Wine cellar after.
Wine cellar after.
Villa Cappelli Favetta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A Puglia specialty.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Recipe yield: As much as you like
  • Dried fava beans
  • Onion
  • Garlic and other spices optional
  • Salt
  • Chili flakes
  • Bitter greens (like broccoli rabe)
  • Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Examine your beans for any stones and remove them. Soak your fava beans over night. Discard any material that rises to the top. Drain and rinse again.
  2. If you can't soak overnight, then simply put them in cool water, bring the water to a boil, then take them off the heat and let them soak for an hour. Drain and proceed as if you soaked them overnight.
  3. Cover the beans with water so there is about two inches of water above the beans. Put in a peeled and cut onion. Cut into quarters is fine. If you like add a couple cloves of garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil.
  4. Lower and simmer until very tender. The beans should always be covered by some water, so add some more if you need as cooking.
  5. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the beans to the texture you want, less for chunky and more for smooth and creamy. The texture is a matter of taste, but either way it should be rich and dense, not runny. If needed, add a bit of water to thin it out, or put it back on the stove to cook off any water. Be sure to watch it and stir so it doesn't burn on the bottom of your pan at this point.
  6. Best served with a bitter green, red chili flakes, and topped with Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


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You might think growing up in a small town in Texas wouldn’t prepare you to live the Italian lifestyle. But in many ways — the family values, the small town culture, the love of food — is very similar to what you’ll find in Italian culture. In fact, I expect it’s pretty universal. Having been married to an Italian for 20 years, it’s been fun to learn and explore the rich Italian culture and share it with you.