ITALY MAGAZINE
PITCHING GUIDELINES 2024

Are you a writer or journalist with specialized Italy knowledge and a great nose for stories?
We’d love to hear from you. But first, read these guidelines. 

Note: The following guidelines are intended for freelance writers and journalists interested in contributing to Italy Magazine. If you are seeking advertising or brand partnership opportunities, find what you need here

The basics

Italy Magazine 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 team has a strong presence across Florence, Rome, Milan, Bologna and Orvieto. This means that freelancers have a much higher chance of placing stories that are anchored in other destinations

Do not submit drafts or attachments “on spec.” We do not look at full-length articles and drafts that show up unsolicited. 

 

WHAT ARE WE ABOUT?

Curious, culturally aware travelers to Italy deserve to read stories that go beyond the tropes.

At Italy Magazine, we’re interested in helping people who love Italy stay connected to the country. While we know our readers enjoy learning about the sparkliest Amalfi Coast beaches or the savoriest cicchetti in Venice, we’re confident that such 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.

In striving to be a practical, supportive bridge to Italy for those who long to visit or to return, our editorial tone is generally positive and upbeat, but tempered. 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.

Aiming to be authoritative without being overly prescriptive, 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. Translated, we do not believe there’s one “best way to see Rome” or a single “best restaurant in Bologna.” Our articles aim to steer our readers down interesting paths, offer thoughtful perspectives, and then encourage them to make their own discoveries.

 

WHO ARE OUR READERS?

This is the most important question to ask. We’re so glad you did.

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 we always commission and write stories with travelers in mind, particularly those in North America. Most of our readers are over the age of 35 and many have an annual household income above $100,000.

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. They don’t need generic advice about “getting off the beaten path” — most of our readers have been off of that path for a while now. A solid 50% of them visit Italy every year, according to internal survey data. Many others may not make it to Italy annually, but are already deeply familiar with the country, and therefore value insider perspectives.

 

 

BEFORE YOU PITCH

Here’s what we expect — and what you can expect from us (including what we pay).

To reiterate an important point, we want pitches, not spec submissions or drafts. Pitches do not need to be long and elaborate, but they do need to be dense. 

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 our development team.

If your pitch is accepted, at commissioning stage, a rough word count, general brief and a style guide will be provided to you. Most of the features we publish range between 800-1100 words. Other than recipes, we currently do not have a need for pieces shorter than that.

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. a roundup with light research vs. a heavily reported feature with interviews).

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 Members. 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 member access.

We do not require you to source photos (though we do generally accept this assistance gratefully when it is offered). But note that 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.

If you are a photojournalist, please note: Unfortunately, we are not yet in a position to commission original photography unless 1) your idea is accompanied by a clear pitch for an article you plan to write to accompany the photo reportage, OR 2) you will be producing your photography alongside text by a pre-determined writer with whom you have already teamed up.

 

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

Learn what works for us (and what doesn’t, which is just as important).

What we want

  • 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. See this example.
  • 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, or through longer-shelf-life reads offering context and, where appropriate, commentary. See this examplethis example and this example.

  • Roundups/listicles, but only when they have 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 about free things to do, surprising facts, seasonal activities, etc. See this example and this example.

  • Itineraries or destination-pegged pieces linked to Italy-related topics in international pop cultureSee this example.

  • Pieces that revisit classics of Italian cinema, music, literature, etc., particularly when there is a release anniversary or other related news hook. See this example

  • Destination pieces with an angle. “Off the beaten path in X” or “Visiting X like a local” are not strong angles. We’d prefer “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

  • 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 aboutSee 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. See this example.

  • 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

  • A fresh angle on an upcoming or ongoing event, including annual series, sagre, exhibitions and festivals.

  • “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

Travel & Living
Hunting for Witches in Benevento
by Janna Brancolini

It was after dark when we arrived in the fertile hills outside Benevento, the orange sliver moon doing little to illuminate the tree-lined road leading to our hotel. We missed the entrance and had to circle back around, until finally we arrived at the converted masseria stables. The owner gave us the key and then retreated up the hill to the great house. 

Food & Drink
Around the Italian Passover Table With Benedetta Jasmine Guetta
by Eric Millman

Every spring, tens of thousands of Italians join up at the dinner table in celebration of Passover, an important Jewish holiday centered on the Seder, which involves a symbolic meal and a recounting of the liberation of the Israelites from bondage in ancient Egypt. 

Food & Drink
FICO Has Been Around for 5 Years. Can it Go On?
by Alex Sakalis

Opened in Bologna in 2017, FICO Eataly World is an Italian food, gastronomy and agriculture theme park founded and operated by Eataly, the hugely successful Italian food market company.

Art & Culture
Why This Year’s Italian Championship is About More Than Soccer
by Katherine Wilson

This spring, the city at the base of Vesuvius is ready to erupt. 

Abuzz with adrenaline and already spray-painted blue, Naples is anticipating a national soccer victory that it has waited 33 years to celebrate. With SSC Napoli pulling a massive 14-point lead over the second place team, this is the year of magic. 

Style & Design
How a Plate of Calamari on Capraia Island Inspired a Cult Design Icon
by Mia Ichimura

In tiny Capraia, part of the Tuscan Archipelago, the streets don’t bustle; they hum quietly with the sound of footsteps. The island, which sits just over 30 miles off the Tuscan coast, comprises two settlements: Il Porto by the sea and Il Paese, the historic village. Largely uninhabited, Capraia is teeming with flora and fauna, an oasis for nature lovers.

Travel & Living
7 Highlights of the Brenta Riviera
by Alex Sakalis

When Venetian aristocrats of bygone eras needed an escape from the sweltering summer heat of the lagoon, they chose the Brenta. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, they commissioned the region’s top architects to transform this marshy river into a linear wonderland of opulent country estates.

Art & Culture
The Roberto Saviano Case: A Crash Course on Debates Around Defamation in Italy
by Laurence Connell

The 44-year-old Italian writer and commentator Roberto Saviano is used to having powerful enemies. Over the course of a career spent exposing organized crime and its links to the state and the legitimate economy, Saviano has brought resistance to the Camorra and other Italian criminal enterprises into mainstream discourse.

What we don’t want, or: Guaranteed fast routes to the slush pile

  • Any submissions on spec. They will not be read.

  • Any work that has already been published elsewhere.

  • “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/destinations that need covering?

  • “I would love to write for you for free in exchange for (fill-in-the-blank).” No, no, no.

  • Relatedly, stories that are thinly veiled self-promotion of your own services or business. (Check out our advertising options here.)

  • Poems, short stories and artwork. Lovely, yes, but not what we publish.

  • Excerpts from your forthcoming book on Italy. One possible exception: Italian-themed cookbooks/recipes.

  • “Zoo tour”-like rundowns of press trip itineraries. We welcome story ideas that were generated by press trips (please disclose when pitching), 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, or you’re exploring the lasting effects of the event on a place, as in this example).

  • Extremely logistical and technical guides that are primarily geared at foreign residents in Italy (offering tips on things like navigating taxes, bureaucracy, etc.) The vast majority of our readership is made up of non-residents. 

  • 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 timely for a non-expert audience.

  • Heavily first-person point of view (think confessional essays, an overly “bloggy” tone, etc.)

  • Long form 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.

  • Overly broad 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).
     

HOW TO PITCH ITALY MAGAZINE

Here are some final notes on how to frame your idea and what to expect after you hit send.

In an email to editorial@italymagazine.com, please clearly specify what you’re pitching (or the working title of your idea) in the 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 new to working with Italy Magazine, please try to give us a sense of your writing style in the pitch itself. If in doubt, don’t seek to explain the story to us; just jump into the most intriguing bits of it in a way that would make a reader want to know what comes next. In other words, the old writing adage of “show, don’t tell” applies. Be sure the pitch conveys why this is valuable and timely information for our readers.

After you’ve given us a sense of the story, introduce yourself if you have not written for Italy Magazine before. Please include a 1-2 line bio and 2-3 links to writing samples. This part of the email should also address whether you already have access (to any key venues or personalities/sources needed to tell your story), and should disclose any press trips or hosted experiences related to the story that you have taken or will take in order to facilitate your reporting. (This will not affect our assessment of the quality of your pitch, but we do need to know about it.)

We understand the freelance hustle and how frustrating waiting around for responses can be. We aim to respond to all pitches, but please allow our small team 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. 

Please keep in mind that “no” to one idea doesn’t mean “no, you can never write for us.” Sometimes a pitch fits the above framework well, yet we simply don’t have room for it any number of reasons. Many, if not most, “no” responses are more about budgets, timing, balance of content, projects in progress and priorities rather than your abilities as a writer.