14. April 2022


Eco Sleep at Lake Garda

CASA VIVA - Eco Sleep at Lake Garda

Oh, how happy I am to have found this brand new eco-accomodation near Lake Garda in Italy, the CASA VIVA!


Asya and Marco's family estate includes a guest house with 8 ecological rooms, a natural riding school and a natural pool. All in an idyllic location not far from Lake Garda, built in a uniquely natural way from straw bales and bio lime and designed with a great sense of aesthetics.


I was lucky to talk to the owner Asya about the vision of CASA VIVA, how the extraordinary idea of opening the guest rooms in 2021 came about and what difficulties accompanied this path - which the two of them mastered brilliantly. What an inspiration for all (future) hosts!



What is the VISION behind CASA VIVA?

Casa Viva at Lake Garda

Asya: Before the idea for CASA VIVA, I worked as a goldsmith and made jewelry. I had my own jewelry studio and shop and made one of a kind and limited edition pieces and sold them. However, it became increasingly clear to me that people do not need more material things. We all have enough stuff in our lives, much of which is not even appreciated and often not used at all. People today want to learn new things and have new experiences;  knowledge, information and networking has become more important. So Marco and I set up our riding school and we got the idea of building CASA VIVA. We wanted CASA VIVA to be a place where people could relax in a natural sustainable environment and meet other like minded people. CASA VIVA has started to become a meeting place for a wide variety of people who may stay in touch with each other even when they go home.



What is the concept of CASA VIVA?

Guest houses made of wood, straws and bio lime

Asya: The buildings are obviously a central feature of CASA VIVA as we used simple,natural and biodegradable materials. Our guest houses are built with wood, straws and bio lime and can easily return to the natural cycle of nature. For us, the use of simple and natural building materials is our idea of luxury and beauty. We also recycled old doors and windows but at the same time our architects gave the buildings a very modern appearance, which we mirrored in the interior design of the guest rooms.


But CASA VIVA is about something else beyond the construction. We wanted to create a place where people can come back to themselves again. A place that reminds you of those carefree childhood summers, when you could just lie there and watch the clouds go by without worrying about anything.  We could say that CASA VIVA is all about the luxury of simple things.

Where did you get your inspiration for the unusual building project and who helped you?

straw bale houses at Casa Viva

Asya: We knew from the beginning that we wanted to create something completely different from what is usually done. In the beginning we did a lot of research and then came up with the idea of the straw bale houses. We were inspired by:

  • The Swiss and straw bale house pioneer Werner Schmidt and his guest house at Lana, Bolzano.
  • Stefano Soldati, and his straw bale he built by himself.
  • Our engineer Carlo Micheletti from CMing. A brilliant engineer with great ideas We noticed that if you pursue a specific project, the right people will automatically come to you.
  • Our architects Studio Albori, great thinkers with a mission and a vision.



What about the comfort in the straw bale & adobe houses?

High level of comfort in the straw bale houses

Asya: The level of comfort in our houses is actually very high.

The houses breathe - on the one hand through the green roofs - but also the straw breathes and even absorbs Co2. So the houses function like large filters and they can absorb moisture and release it again.

In the summer we cool the rooms with ‘free cooling’: by pumping cool well water through pipes under the floors. This natural cooling works with little electricity, without gas emissions and is completely silent. In the winter and spring, we run hot water heated by our solar panels through the pipes, heating the rooms in the same way.


Are there other ecological aspects about CASA VIVA?

Upcycling at Casa Viva

Asya: We like to use second-hand things and left over materials and give them a new life. For example, almost all of our windows and doors are second-hand. Our architects found them first then planned and built the houses around the windows. For the furniture in the guest rooms, we used leftover wood from our old stables and the wood left over from the construction of CASA VIVA. 

What is the natural pool all about?

Natural Pool at Casa Viva

Asya: The natural pool is another important part of our project. Birds, dragonflies, and other aquatic insects benefit from the bio pool and create an ecosystem. Compared to a conventional pool, which can only be maintained using a lot of chemicals, our natural pool works through the circulatory system of plants and animals. The water is alive and you immediately notice the difference when you go for a swim.

Was the entire project cost effective compared to a traditional construction project?

Build inexpensively with straw bale houses

Asya: Although houses made of straw are not always cheaper than houses made of cement, we were actually able to save a lot of money. Straw houses can be built very easily and at low cost. But they can also be as expensive as cement houses. We chose the middle range. In addition, Marco and I were able to do a lot of manual work ourselves which cut some of the costs. Also, doors and windows usually cost a lot when constructing and we were able to save by including second hand materials. 

If you had known from the start how complex this project would be, would you have done it anyway?

Breakfast at Casa Viva

Asya: Absolutely YES! Obstacles and problems are always part of it, but this project simply had to be built. We had the feeling that something bigger was helping us along. We had the idea and  the energy to make it happen but there was something sustaining us helping us get to the end. Now the project has developed its own energy and gave’s us back at lot of energy. It’s a life project and we’re enthusiastic to share it with people.

Can you make a living from the project or is it more of a nice hobby?

Life project Casa Viva

Asya: It is by no means "just" a hobby, there are so many responsibilities, e.g. towards the people who work with us, but also towards banks, etc.

We didn't just start this project to make money. We did it because we believed that it had to be done. This is our contribution to making the world a better place. It's definitely not a hobby, but it is driven by great enthusiasm and the desire for personal growth.

What's next for CASA VIVA?

Casa Viva

Asya: In the future we would like to work with even more people creating different projects. In the beginning, Marco and I were solely responsible for all the work. Now, at our stables we have two riding instructors and a stable employee. We have people working with us who are doing the work they love. We would like to make this possible for even more people in the future.

In addition to my actual work, I love learning new things. For example, I am currently dreaming of a bistro here at CASA VIVA and will start a 10-week professional cooking course in vegetarian and vegan cuisine to see if I can make this next dream take off.


The conversation with Asya inspired me a lot. With the CASA VIVA, two people have set out to realize their dream of a life close to nature and to make the world a little better with their business model. While the journey isn't always easy, it's definitely worth helping to make sustainability the new "normal" in hospitality.




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