About us

Find yourself in Italy

For us, finding the perfect place to stay has always been at the heart of every successful holiday. So we started Essential Italy with a simple goal in mind – to give discerning travellers a choice of the best in Italian accommodation. We’ve stayed true to that founding principle, adding ever-more delightful properties over the years. From villas in Tuscany to trulli in Puglia, from apartments in Umbria to boutique hotels in Sicily and Sardinia, we offer the finest range at the fairest prices.

Why choose us?

At Essential Italy we like working in partnership with our clients. So the first step is getting to know you – your likes and dislikes, your holiday must-haves, and the make-up of your travelling group. Only then can we start matching you up with the Italian holiday accommodation of your dreams. So whether you are a family looking for a spacious villa with pool to match, a couple after a romantic break in a city apartment, or simply a group of friends in search of a well-appointed private hotel, we can always help.

British Travel Awards Winners

Experts at your service

Combining the best traditions of English service with the warmth of Italian hospitality, meet our experts in the UK and Italy. They’re always on call.

Helen Forbes

Helen Forbes

United Kingdom

One of the most organised people we know, Helen loves applying her talent for planning to the creation of seriously unforgettable Italian escapes.

After all, it was Helen who founded Essential Italy back in 2002, with the aim of translating her passion for the country into the ultimate in Italian holidays. ‘I still love every minute of it,’ she admits, ‘I know our properties are exceptional, because I regularly visit them all – and have stayed in many myself. And I have to say our clients are just as special to me – the way they share our appreciation of all things Italian.

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Sarah Sharland

Sarah Sharland

Sardinia

A byword for her warmth, welcome and professionalism, Sarah combines the best of English-style service with enviable local expertise.

Sarah joined Essential Italy back in 2004 and is based in her beloved Sardinia. Sarah helps bring this most stylish of islands to life for many Essential Italy travellers, with everything from local restaurant recommendations to archipelago yacht cruises – and tips on the best beaches, of course. ‘Now I’ve lived here for more than twenty years,’ smiles Sarah – ‘I’m starting to get to know the place. And my greatest joy is sharing it with others.’

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Louise Turner

Louise Turner

United Kingdom

Think of Louise as a friend you just haven’t met yet. (Unless you’ve already travelled with Essential Italy, that is).

Along with Helen, Louise is the calm, unruffled, helpful presence at the heart of Essential Italy in the UK. Louise takes time to get to know you, so you’ll have confidence in every recommendation she makes. Louise has travelled widely in Italy, and knows all our properties by heart. ‘I’ll discover exactly what you want,’ she promises, ‘then arrange everything to suit you perfectly.’

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Ian Styan

Ian Styan

United Kingdom

Ian is one of our most experienced team members here in the UK – full of practical advice and helpful support gained from many years living in Italy, which he still visits regularly.

Ian knows the whole of Italy really well – and he also understands what visitors want from a great holiday. Ian lived in Italy for more than 20 years, and been with us for almost as long. He’s helped build up our network of the best villas, apartments and hotels across Italy – and been instrumental in setting new standards for customer service in the UK. As Ian puts it ‘This might be the first time you’ve ever visited Italy – so we’ll do all we can to make your stay a special memory.’

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Zaira Troncia

Zaira Troncia

Tuscany and Umbria

For some of our clients, Italy is Tuscany – and nobody is more Tuscany than Zaira. With a wonderful feel for her region – and for neighbouring Umbria – she can help you make the most of your stay here.

Zaira joined Essential Italy in 2013, but she’s such a natural fit with the team it feels as though she’s been around much longer. Zaira’s been living in Tuscany for more than 20 years now – but is still finding new treasures to explore in both Tuscany and the next-door province of Umbria. She loves nothing better than sharing her enthusiasm for both regions – their sights, tastes and culture – with visitors from Essential Italy. And since she also spent several years living in the UK, you’ll find her English first-rate too.

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Daniela Oliva

Daniela Oliva

Sicily

Daniela has been a vital member of the Essential Italy team since 2010, her background in travel makes her the ideal person to head up our operations in Sicily.

Daniela is an absolute fund of knowledge on all things Sicilian. She can help with everything from restaurant recommendations to advice on visiting popular sights like Agrigento and Taormina. Daniela loves the island she was raised on – and four years in the UK (which she calls her second home) – mean she loves helping Essential Italy visitors discover it for themselves.

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Chris Barber

Chris Barber

Puglia

Chris got to know Puglia long before it grew into the fashionable destination it’s become today. So there’s nobody more insightful when it comes to helping you discover the region.

Chris is based near Ostuni, and you may well meet him if you travel to one of our properties in the area. Chris combines English manners and service quality with knowledgeable enthusiasm for his particular corner of Italy. He’ll share recommendations of towns to visit, restaurants to reserve, and sights you simply mustn’t miss.

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What our guests say