BTA Awards 2012 and 2013 Winner

About Us Essential Italy

Experienced UK and Italy based staff

At Essential Italy we help you to arrange perfect villa, apartment and hotel holidays in all the most sought-after locations. With over twelve years experience, our network of Italian-based staff and suppliers have assembled a sublime selection of holiday properties, all chosen for:

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

Find the holiday you’re looking for in Sicily, Sardinia, Tuscany, Umbria, Puglia or on the Amalfi Coast – and then call us to check availability. 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 know just what you want from your Italian holiday.

We founded Essential Italy on three simple principles – and because we seem to be doing something right (many clients come back year after year), we’re still following them to this day:

  • Only to offer accommodation we’d love to stay in ourselves
  • To provide friendly, personable service at all times
  • To arrange everything at the lowest possible price, keeping unforgettable Italian holidays affordable for everyone

Meet the Essential Italy team

We look forward to getting to know you when you travel with us.

First, here’s a little more about us…

Helen Forbes
Helen Forbes

Over ten years of organising ultimate Italian holidays for clients of all kinds has only confirmed to Helen that this is her dream job. “I know that we have the pick of Italian holiday properties – because I’ve visited every one of them myself. I think our clients are pretty special too – because they seem to share our appreciation of all that’s best about Italy.” 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.

Best part of the job – “Regular visits to Italy, of course, and the satisfaction of knowing that I can help people make the most of their precious holiday time.”

Sarah Sharland
Sarah Sharland

With extensive experience in travel, Sarah joined forces with Essential Italy in 2004 to 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 twenty years now. Her wealth of knowledge about all things Sardinian helps every Essential Italy visitor to the island enjoy a holiday they will never forget. She offers recommendations of all kinds – from the best beaches, to boat trips around the archipelago, and restaurants to die for.

Sarah’s professionalism, good humour, attention to detail, and love of all things Sardinian make her a typical member of our highly-valued team.

Louise Turner
Louise Turner

Louise joined Essential Italy in 2003, and has grown to become just as expert in all things Italian as her colleagues. She works in the UK office alongside Helen, providing the same personable, friendly, unruffled level of service to clients ranging from young couples to large groups of family and friends.  She visits every property we offer, so that she can be sure to match the right client with the right holiday.

Favourite things about Italy? “Silvio Berlusconi – he’s so ridiculous it’s funny – and olive oil, parmesan cheese, and handbags, naturally.”

Ian Styan
Ian Stryan

Having worked in Italian tourism for the past 16 years Ian has an in depth knowledge of all things Italian. He has lived in Italy for the past 20 years and has been involved with Essential Italy since its foundation. Ian has visited every corner of Italy and his understanding of what makes a great Italian holiday will ensure that yours is just perfect.

Zaira Troncia
Ziara

Zaira is a very welcome addition to the Essential Italy team 2014. Born in the south of Sardinia, she settled in the heart of Tuscany may years ago where she is now very much a native. With a huge wealth of experience in the travel industry, Zaira's knowledge of Tuscany is more than impressive – her directions to all the corners of this beautiful region will include everything that you may need for a great day out.

A few years in the UK enhanced her command of the english language to perfection, and Zaira still loves to visit England though she has some more long-haul destinations on her travelling wish-list. Reading and music are top of her relaxation activities, and she is great with a pair of knitting needles when time permits. With a fun-loving attitude and great attention to all your needs, her professionalism shines through ensuring that you get great care and excellent service whilst on holiday in the gorgeous region of  Tuscany.

Daniela Oliva
Daniela

Daniela is a real find for Essential Italy and has the enviable task of taking care of everything Sicilian for us. A true native, born in Catania, we know that she is going to be a great success with our friendly owners and of course, all our guests that choose this fascinating destination for a holiday. 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.

Daniela has a degree in economics and has enjoyed travelling throughout Europe. She readily admits to being an island person and always needs to be close to the sea – her favourite locations are Sardinia, Madeira, and of course, Sicily. A brief visit to London a few years ago resulted in a four year stay, and she now considers it her second home. But the blue sea and bright sunshine keep her feet firmly on Mediterranean soil most of the year.

Daniela loves swimming in the sea, listening to music and reading when she has the time. She’s very sociable – making her delightful company – and has a huge amount of local information, tips and advice, that you could only get from a local girl!

Siobhain McConnell
Daniela

Siobhain is our most recent team member and responsible for the lovely region of Puglia. Arriving to the Salento a couple of years ago for a much needed holiday, Siobhain fell in love with this glorious part of Italy along with the gorgeous sunshine (and possibly the wine!) and decided to stay! Her wonderful bubbly character and desire to make everyone's holiday in Puglia simply the best is completely infectious and though understandably hooked on the Salento to begin with, we have now introduced her to the Valle d'Itria (north of Brindisi) where she also seems to be totally at home.

Siobhain still has family in the north of England and has a wonderful Scottish accent from many years spent in Edinburgh where she gained her degree in Physics and a masters degree in Computer Programming. Her challenge now is to speak fluent Italian by the end of the year and knowing her as we do, we have no doubts that this will be achieved.

With a huge sense of humour and a real zest for life along with super people skills, we know she will be a real hit with all the lucky guests that travel to Puglia and have the pleasure in meeting her.

Chris Barber
Chris and Annie

Essential Italy is all about sharing our expertise and our local knowledge with our discerning clients. That’s why we were are lucky to have Chris on board. Based near Ostuni, you may well run into him if you travel with us to Puglia. Just like Essential Italy itself, he encompasses the perfect combination of English manners and service, and Italian charm.

What does Chris love about Italy? “It’s the perfect place to live – who would’t want to live in this beautiful and unique part of Italy!.”