Call us +44(0)1223 460100 · Email us info@essentialitaly.co.uk

About Us experienced UK and Italy based staff

Essential Italy was born in 2002 out of an appreciation and enthusiasm for all things Italian. Brother and sister – Ian (who has lived in Tuscany for over 20 years) and Helen – decided it was time to share their Italian experiences with a wider, like-minded audience. Sarah (based in Sardinia) joined them soon after. Their combined knowledge and experience has resulted in an incomparable, hand-picked selection of holiday villas, apartments and hotels in Italy, all carefully chosen for their:

  • idyllic locations
  • great comfort and convenience
  • their distinctive Italian qualities.

Browse our website to find the holiday accommodation you’re looking for in one of our favourite Italian regions – Abruzzo, Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany and Umbria – and contact us to check availability. We’ll talk you through all aspects of your chosen property, or ensure you get a suitable alternative to cover all your requirements. We don’t offer anonymous web booking, because we’re not that kind of company. We like to speak to all our clients directly, so we understand exactly what you want from your Italian holiday.

We founded Essential Italy on three simple principles – and we must be doing something right, we’ve won the British Travel Award for ‘Best Holiday Company to the Italian Peninsula’ three years running, and many of our clients come back year-after-year – we still adhere to these principles today:

  • only to offer accommodation we’d love to stay in ourselves
  • to provide friendly, personable service at all times
  • to arrange everything at the best possible price, making unforgettable Italian holidays affordable for everyone.

Meet the Essential Italy team

Helen Forbes

Helen Forbes

Helen’s been organising ultimate Italian holidays for a diverse range of clients, whatever their requirements, since 2002. ‘I know we have the best pick of Italian holiday properties – because I’ve visited every one of them myself – our clients seem to share our appreciation of all that’s best about Italy, and are happy to draw on our experience to find them the perfect holiday home.’

Helen devotes her considerable organisational and managerial skills to ensuring that Essential Italy always provides the accommodation options, and level of service, that clients deserve.

Sarah Sharland

Sarah Sharland

With extensive experience in travel, Sarah joined forces with Essential Italy in 2004 to initially co-ordinate our programme in Sardinia. The island is a favourite with Italian holidaymakers, and it’s easy to see why Sarah has chosen to make it her home for more than 20 years now. Her wealth of knowledge concerning all things Sardinian helps every Essential Italy guest to the island enjoy a holiday they’ll never forget. She offers recommendations of all kinds – from the best beaches, bars, cafés and restaurants, to unforgettable boat trips around the archipelago.

Sarah has a key role within Essential Italy, making everyday decisions regarding new properties, dealing with owners, client enquiries, exploring new regions and the steady growth of the company throughout Italy.

Louise Turner

Louise Turner

Louise joined Essential Italy in 2003, and has grown to become just as expert when it comes to all things Italian as her colleagues. She works in the UK office alongside Helen and Ian, providing the same personable, friendly and composed level of service to clients ranging from young couples to large groups of family and friends.

Louise’s meticulous attention to details ensures the UK office runs with precision, as well as drawing on her extensive knowledge to match the right client with the right holiday.

Ian Styan

Ian Styan

Having worked in Italian tourism since 1997, Ian has an in-depth knowledge of all things Italian. He’s lived in Tuscany for over 20 years and has been involved with Essential Italy since its foundation.

Ian has visited every corner of Italy and his considerable experience gives him a unique understanding of what makes a great Italian holiday, ensuring that your stay there will be perfect.

Zaira Troncia

Zaira Troncia

Zaira is a much valued member of the Essential Italy team, joining in 2010. Born in the south of Sardinia, she settled in the heart of Tuscany many years ago where she’s now very much a native. With a huge wealth of experience in the travel industry, Zaira’s knowledge of Tuscany is more than impressive, and she will happily make suggestions and recommendations to ensure you make the most of your time in this beautiful region. A few years in the UK enhanced her command of the English language to perfection.

Zaira’s experience and professionalism shines through, ensuring you get great care and excellent service whilst on holiday in the gorgeous region of Tuscany.

Daniela Oliva

Daniela Oliva

Daniela is a real find for Essential Italy and has the enviable task of taking care of everything Sicilian for us – she is a true native, born in Catania. Daniela readily admits to being an island person, and she spent many years living in Sardinia before moving back to Sicily. A brief visit to London a few years ago resulted in a 4 year stay, and she now considers it her second home.

Her experience in the tourist industry has given Daniela the knowledge and know-how to confidently handle everything we pass her way – she has a great sense of humour and is very passionate about her homeland.

Chris Barber

Chris Barber

Chris joined Essential Italy in 2005, and is our ‘man-on-the-ground’ in Puglia. Based near the stunning ‘White City’ of Ostuni, Chris has an in-depth knowledge of the region, and is always on-hand to assist guests and owners alike.

Just like Essential Italy itself, Chris encompasses the perfect combination of English manners and service, with acquired Italian charm.

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Why we don’t show availability on our website

There’s a very good reason we don’t show availability online, we like to talk to you.

We know all our ‘hand-picked’ villas, apartments and hotels intimately, we’ve visited them all, and stayed in many.

Our award-winning team, based in the UK and Italy, will draw on their combined knowledge and experience to give you all the advice and assistance you need to ensure you get the right holiday accommodation, in the right location, with the right facilities, at the right price, for you.