Italy Magazine Pitching Guidelines 2023
These guidelines are intended for freelance writers and journalists interested in contributing to Italy Magazine. If you are instead seeking advertising or brand partnership opportunities, you'll find more information here.
Italy Magazine actively welcomes pitches from freelance writers and journalists. Our preference is to work with those based in Italy, but we also commission qualified writers with insider knowledge who travel here frequently, as well as those who have lived in Italy in the past.
Our staff has a strong presence across Florence, Rome, and Milan, where we’re usually pretty on the pulse. From freelancers, especially writers who are new to working with Italy Magazine, we are more likely to commission stories that are anchored in other destinations (though that’s not a universal rule).
Please refrain from submitting anything “on spec.” We rarely, if ever, publish full-length drafts that show up unsolicited. Whether you’re a writer or a photographer, the best way to start working with us is to pitch one really great story. From there, our working relationship might evolve, but start with one solid idea.
What we’re about
At Italy Magazine, we’re interested in helping people who love Italy stay connected to the country. While we know our readers love curated lists of the sparkliest Amalfi Coast beaches and spots for the savoriest cicchetti in Venice, we’re confident that this type of content can coexist alongside accessible, engaging coverage of current events, culture, art, politics, entertainment and everyday life in Italy. We want to help our international readership travel deeper and better understand Italy, not just consume it.
We aim to be a practical, supportive bridge to Italy for people who daydream about visiting or returning. While we love a dream — and a well-designed hotel — we are not interested in feeding a “fantasy” of Italy. We believe there is a key difference.
Our editorial tone is generally positive and upbeat, but tempered. We try to steer clear of superlatives and absolutes, but concede that at times we’re at the mercy of the almighty algorithm, like most publications today. On the whole, we aim to be authoritative without being overly prescriptive: We do not believe there’s one “best way to see Rome” or a single “best restaurant in Bologna.” We want to steer our readers down interesting paths, offer thoughtful perspectives, and then encourage them to make their own discoveries.
Who and where our readers are
The majority of our readers (65%) are located in the United States, followed by the United Kingdom at a distant second (12%). We do have Italian and Italy-resident readers, but write with travelers in mind, particularly those based in North America. Most of our readers are between the ages of 35 and 64.
Your average Italy Magazine reader doesn’t need to be told that Florence is the cradle of the Renaissance or that cannoli come from Sicily. A solid 50% of our readers visit Italy every year, according to internal survey data. Many others may not make it annually, but are already deeply familiar with the country, and therefore value insider perspectives.
Before you pitch
Before you pitch, please check to see if we’ve covered the subject before. We have a lot of content over our two decade-plus history! We’re not opposed to rewrites, new angles or fresh takes — just clearly state that in your email.
Note that you’ll get more accurate results if you search our archive via your web browser (using italymagazine.com as a search term) rather than the website search function, which is currently being updated by developers.
Articles will be edited for style, grammar, accuracy, length, and defamatory material. At commissioning stage, a rough word count and a style guide will be provided to you, but most of the features we publish range between 800-1100 words. Other than recipes, we currently do not have a need for shorter pieces (usually tagged as “Italy in Brief” on the site).
Writers are encouraged, but not required, to submit relevant, landscape-oriented (horizontal) images to accompany their articles. Please supply verifiable credits and any necessary context for the caption. Note that while we do not require you to source photos, our own access to imagery and the story’s “visual potential” will always be a consideration when determining whether or not to move forward with an idea.
Other than dual-language articles that are written in-house, all Italy Magazine content is in English for an English-speaking audience. We expect our contributors to write fluently and accurately in English, even if it’s not their first language. Our readers love Italian language learning resources, but those types of pieces are generally written internally, or by qualified language instructors with whom we have standing agreements.
What we pay
Our rates are in USD and are subject to shift based on quarterly budgets. Most pieces are paid between $.10 and $.14 per word, depending largely on the complexity of the topic and the format (e.g. listicle vs. reported feature).
Flat fee exceptions to the range above: hotel profiles that follow a template ($50; see this example); non-original, sourced-and-reused-with-permission recipes with a brief introduction of your own ($75; see this example); and original recipes ($120; see this example).
Payments are made within a month of submitting your invoice. You may invoice after filing your piece.
Please be aware that your article may end up behind a paywall for our Premium Subscribers. The article headline and your byline and link to your biography will always remain visible to all. Paywalling is at our discretion. As the writer of the piece, you will be granted subscriber access.
What we’re actually looking for
- Vividly reported features with a strong narrative flow, a character or characters at the center, and a pronounced sense of place. If there’s a timely hook to it, this is almost guaranteed to get a green light. Bonus points if you have access to great accompanying imagery. See this example.
- Destination pieces with an angle. Rather than “A Visit to Rome”, we’d prefer “A Literary Guide to Rome,” “In the Footsteps of [X Person] in Rome,” a walk around the film locations of Roman Holiday or a fresh new TV series set there, etc. Note that we've used Rome as an illustrative example here, but we're particularly interested in ideas from less-visited areas that deserve more coverage. See this example.
- Cultural explainers and trend pieces on timely themes in Italian news, popular culture and politics. While readers don’t come to us for breaking news or up-to-the-minute updates on the latest crisis, we want Italy Magazine to be a place where they can engage with trending topics in the Italian news in a distilled, accessible format. See this example, this example and this example.
- Itineraries or destination-pegged pieces linked to Italy-related topics in international pop culture. See this example.
- Pieces that revisit classics of Italian cinema, music, literature, etc., especially when there is a release anniversary or other related news hook. See this example.
- Roundups/listicles with a clear, honed theme and/or a timely sensibility. We love timely tie-ins (7 Vintage Boutiques in Milan, pitched when Fashion Week is around the corner, or 5 Italian Women Novelists You Should Know, pitched ahead of Elena Ferrante pushing out “her” newest book). We also love specific, tightly wound “what's new” approaches (8 New Family-Friendly Hotels in Sicily). See this example of a timely and well-honed roundup. We also like listicles and roundups that relate to “secret” or lesser-known places and activities, free things to do, surprising facts, seasonal activities, etc. See this example and this example.
- Unusual Italian artisan crafts, traditions and foodways. We love anything regarding slow food, bizarre culinary customs and endangered-species crafts. Even better if there’s a personality / source who can help you add humanity and color to the story.
- Quirky articles concerning fun facts, feast days, unsolved mysteries, superstitions, etc. These are always more likely to get commissioned if they have a timely element to them. See this example.
- Fixtures of Italian life that travelers may not be aware of, or may be curious to learn more about. See this example.
- Service-y itineraries or mini-guides setting up a fun challenge / a realistic scenario / a provocative yet practical question that a reader-traveler might actually face. Think: What to Do With an Hour to Kill Near Venezia Mestre Train Station; Can You Eat Well in Milan on 50 Euro a Day?; etc.
- Pieces that highlight important historical sites currently undergoing upgrades or significant changes, while shedding light on why they're “historic” to begin with. Forthcoming examples: The pedestrianization of Piazzale Loreto that is ongoing in Milan; the stories of varied historic cinemas, like the Metropolitan in Naples or the Odeon in Florence, facing the threat of closure or major change.
- Pieces that encourage — indirectly or directly — more mindful and sustainable forms of travel, and show awareness of how tourism and travel media carry consequences for local communities. See this example.
- Upcoming events, including annual series, sagre, festivals (but please search the website first).
- “Italy Around the World” pieces. Think major Italian art exhibitions in US or UK cities, Italy-angled stories at global events like the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup, or some fixture of Italian culture being spotlighted in a significant way outside Italy. See this example.
- Interviews with sought-after Italian subjects, or less famous figures who have specialized tips or perspectives to offer our readers. See this example.
- Hotel profiles for our in-progress “Inspired Stays” section, though we are always more likely to commission these if your hotel review is part of a reporting trip for another feature. We do not typically assign hotel profiles to writers who are working with us for the first time. Note that for this section we are looking at boutique hotels, new openings, and B&Bs with a niche offering in popular destinations – not airport standards or extremely low-budget or extremely tough to reach spots.
What we aren’t looking for/things that will land you in the slush pile
- “I’ve been to/I'm going to Italy or X city in Italy, what would you like me to write about / photograph?” See also: “Do you have any stories for me that need covering?”
- Poems, short stories and artwork
- Excerpts from your forthcoming book on Italy
- Any work that has already been published elsewhere
- “Zoo tour”-like rundowns of press trip itineraries. We welcome story ideas that were generated by press trips, but we’ll pass on the play-by-plays.
- Stories about festivals or cultural events that have already occurred (unless you’re using a past experience to cast light on the forthcoming edition of the same event)
- Anything with “dolce vita” in the title (unless you are literally writing about the Fellini film)
- Overly academic takes on anything. We are always excited, however, to have contributions from Italy-angled scholars who know how to make their niche interesting, accessible, and/or timely for a non-expert audience.
- Heavily first-person point of view (think confessional essays, an overly “bloggy” tone, etc.)
- Longform book reviews (though we are interested in more granular feature stories or interviews where the book release is the news-y talking point. See this example.)
- Articles built around stereotypes, sweeping statements or old-hat cliches
- Destination guides where the destination itself is the only hook (“A Guide to Naples.” Nope!)
- The line “so-and-so effortlessly mixes tradition and innovation.” Even if it’s true, please find another way of saying it!
- Interviews with corporate scions who made a “brave change” by moving to Italy for the “slower pace of life” (unless…Nah. We don’t want this.).
- Stories that are thinly veiled self-promotion of your own services or business
How to pitch and what to expect
In an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, please clearly specify what you’re pitching (or the working title of your idea) in your email subject line, preceded by the word PITCH. (Example: PITCH: How to See Pompeii Without the Crowds.)
In the body of your email, include your 1-2 paragraph (maximum, please!) pitch. If you’re stuck, try to pose it as a “problem” (Pompeii can be really crowded) and then offer the solution (Go at X time of day/year to avoid the crowds). Briefly explain why this is valuable and/or timely information for our readers.
If you’ve found gaps in our coverage, please point these out and present your ideas for remedying them.
If you’ve never written for Italy Magazine before, include a 1-2 line bio and 2-3 links to writing samples (or a link to your writing portfolio or blog) and a profile photo.
We understand the freelance hustle and how frustrating waiting around for responses can be. We aim to respond to all pitches, but please allow us two weeks to do so, unless your pitch is highly time-sensitive. After two weeks, feel free to gently follow up. If, after following up, you do not hear from us within 2-3 business days, it’s safe to assume it’s a “no” for us and that you can pitch the story elsewhere.