Explore Independent Cambridge - Essential Italy

The team at Essential Italy

With the help of Independent Cambridge - the community of ‘real’ Cambridge - Cambridge Network continues its weekly exploration of the best independent shops, cafés, restaurants, people, businesses, venues and events in Cambridge and the surrounding area. This week: Essential Italy.

With the frenetic pace of life, many of us yearn to pop on the out-of-office, grab our passports and jet off to sunnier climes. But the sheer volume of choice on the internet can make booking a holiday bamboozling.

Thank goodness for the award-winning team at Essential Italy in Cambridge, headed up by seasoned travellers - sister and brother Helen Forbes and Ian Styan - and Sardinian-based Sarah Sharland, who specialise in handpicked holiday accommodation for discerning travellers. Whether you hanker after a converted convent in Puglia or a classic Tuscan farmhouse for your extended family, these guys can make it happen.

Essential Italy started in 2000, after romance took Ian to Florence, where he worked for a villa specialist, before he and Helen went on to help owners rent their Tuscan properties.

Now specialising in Sicily, Tuscany, Umbria, Puglia and Sardinia, Essential Italy have 400 villas, plus apartments and boutique hotels, and boast super-knowledgeable representatives on the ground. They provide a first-class service, offering advice on local restaurants, beaches, daytrips, even help to transport home a stray cat!

So, if the thought of marvelling at world-famous art in Siena, visiting Umbria’s enchanting medieval towns or bathing in Sicily’s azure waters sounds appealing, you know who to call!  

Essential Italy
The Courtyard, 17d Sturton Street
Cambridge, CB1 2SN
Telephone 01223 460100



Discover unique boutiques and boutique hotels mingled with communities of artists and craftspeople. Sample an award-winning restaurant or thriving little café tucked away in a back street – all easy to locate via the comprehensive Independent Cambridge directory.  It features hundreds of local traders, artists, makers, producers, venues and events – all of which play a part in the real life of the city and local area. Run by long-term residents with a true passion for all things indie, the site is packed with valuable insider knowledge of the local scene. And whoever you are - resident or visitor; whatever you search for, read about and choose to visit, you can be sure it’s independent!

Look out for the latest edition of Independent Cambridge's magazine, The Indie, out now - or read it online here.


A celebration of the city’s best independent traders, venues and events

Indie Cambridge