How to write a letter or email in Italian, start to end: A top guide


Valentina Fornelli

With even young Italian pop stars singing nostalgic songs about the beauty of writing love letters, no one can deny one simple truth: letters have never been out of trend.

Even if nowadays they don’t reach their recipient by traveling in the bag of a postman, but as less romantic - but more tree friendly! - emails.

Looking for a guide that’ll explain to you how to write a letter or an e-mail in Italian, with terminology, details and templates for both formal and informal registers? Well, your missive has reached the right destination!

Postal delivery.

Why learn how to write a letter in Italian?

There are a ton of possible reasons to learn how to write an email or a letter in Italian. Among others:

  • Love, the first and most important
  • Work, because love won’t feed you unfortunately
  • Study: maybe you’re planning to study abroad and you’re thinking about joining one of the best universities in Italy?
  • Business: Italian business culture has its own peculiarities. For example, we tend to be more formal and we communicate A LOT. Building trust through communication is key to navigate the Italian economy, so sending letters and emails in Italian is a must have skill.
  • Shopping, because you’ve discovered an amazing little artisanal shoes boutique and you absolutely NEED to know if you can have a little discount if you buy, like, ALL their stock.
  • Bureaucracy: maybe you have to request a document from a little municipality in the Tuscan countryside…well they might speak some English. Or not.
  • Friendship, because friends will cheer you up if your heart is broken, your career unsatisfying, your studies boring, your business in ruin, your shoes too tight and that little Tuscan municipality won’t reply to your emails for all the gold in the world.

Key letter writing vocabulary to keep in mind

Now, let’s see some terminology you must know:

Ufficio postalePost office
Buca delle lettereMailbox
Spedire / InviareTo send
RicevereTo receive
RispondereTo reply
Foglio A4A4 size
Carta intestataLetterhead
Posta ordinariaPost mail
RaccomandataRegistered mail
PECA system to send emails with full legal value

Formatting a letter in Italian

While there’s no need to worry too much about formatting when writing to your pen pal or love interest, here is how you should format a formal letter in Italian:

  • Date and place: these should go in the upper right corner and their recommended formula is “Place, date”. Remember that the correct way to write a date in Italian is dd/mm/yyyy.
  • Opening formula: Respect term + title + surname of the recipient. Respect terms and titles should be shortened. To know everything you need about these crucial little words and their abbreviations, check out this blog post.
  • A sentence introducing the sender.
  • The body of the letter.
  • A closing formula.
  • Signature.

How to write and format a letter in Italian.

Below, we’ll examine more details about every step of writing a formal letter in Italian just below. But before we continue, here is a little advice.

If you're a company or a professional willing to do business in Italy, consider creating a nice-looking template with Canva. You’ll never regret running the extra mile with styling and branding when dealing with Italians. They’ll love it.

How to write a formal or business letter in Italian

Let’s explore how to write a letter in Italian when the needed register is formal.

Formal letter greetings

Dear Sir / MadamGentile Sig / Sig.ra
To whom it may concernA chi di competenza
For the kind attention ofAlla cortese attenzione di

Note: in formal register, any time you refer to the recipient either with a pronoun or a possessive adjective, these should begin with a capital letter.

How to start a formal letter in Italian

Let’s see the step following formal letter or email greetings in Italian.

Cover letters when applying for a job

I’m writing in application of..Scrivo per candidarmi all’offerta di lavoro per…
I’d like to submit my application for the job ofVorrei sottoporre la mia candidatura per il posto di…
As [previous job] for [previous company], I was in charge of…Come [...] presso [...], le mie responsabilità includevano…
My interest in the role originates from a profound admiration for the results your company has achieved…Il mio interesse per il ruolo è nella profonda ammirazione per i risultati della Vostra azienda…

Letter of enquiry

I’m writing to ask for your assistance for…Scrivo per domandare la Sua assistenza per…
I’m writing to receive information concerning…Scrivo per ricevere informazioni a proposito di…
I’d need a document issued by the office…Avrei bisogno di un documento emesso dall’ufficio…

Letter of complaint

I wish to lodge a complaint about…Desidero presentare un reclamo a proposito di…
On the day [date] in [location], I’ve experienced the following issue:In data [...] presso [...], ho sperimentato il seguente problema:
I enclose with the present letter the documentation proving what I affirmAllego alla presente la documentazione che dimostra quanto da me affermato

Letter of apology

I’m writing to apologize for the poor service you received on your recent visit to..Le porgo le mie più sincere scuse per il servizio scadente da Lei ricevuto nella sua recente visita presso…
We ben you to accept our most sincere apologies for the delay in sending your order…La preghiamo di accettare le nostre più sincere scuse per il ritardo nell’invio del suo ordine…
With the present letter I intend to apologize for…Con la presente intendo scusarmi per…

Letter of response

I’m writing in response to your enquiry on the..Le scrivo in risposta alla Sua richiesta di…
In answering your request of information…In risposta alla Sua domanda di informazioni…
With regard to your request…Per quanto concerne la Sua richiesta…

Letter of sales / promotion

As Procurement Manager at [recipient’s company], you probably often have to face the challenge of…In quanto Responsabile acquisti per [...], con ogni probabilità si trova spesso di fronte al problema di…
I think you could be interested in our solutionPenso potrebbe interessarle la nostra soluzione
[Sender’s company] is a leading company in the [industry] industry[...] è un’azienda leader nel settore [...]
Among our clients, there are several international brands in your industry, such as…Tra i nostri clienti, figurano diversi brand internazionali del Suo settore, tra cui…

How to sign off or end a formal letter in Italian

Kindest regards / Cordial greetingsCordiali saluti
Waiting for your kind response, I extend cordial greetingsIn attesa di un Suo riscontro, porgo cordiali saluti
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you…Ringraziandola per il suo tempo e in attesa di una Sua risposta…
I remain at full disposal for any doubt or question.Resto a disposizione per qualunque dubbio o domanda.

Example of a formal letter in Italian

Genova, 13/06/2023

Gentile Dott. Rossi,

Mi chiamo Franca Gabrielli e Le scrivo per inoltrarle la mia candidatura per il posto di Marketing Manager indicato con il codice 012344 nel Vostro sito aziendale.

Nel mio precedente ruolo di Specialista Marketing Digitale presso l’Agenzia X ho lavorato su diversi tipi di campagne promozionali che hanno ottenuto ottimi risultati, aumentando la visibilità dell’azienda sui motori di ricerca del 30% e incrementando i ricavi dell’e-commerce del 25%.

Allego il mio CV e resto a disposizione per un colloquio.

Cordiali saluti,

Franca Gabrielli

How to write an informal letter in Italian

Now that we’ve survived the intricacies of formality, let’s discover how to write an informal letter or email in Italian. But before, let’s list a few context where an informal register is the best choice:

  • Love, friendship and family, of course
  • Colleagues you already know
  • Business partners you already have an established relationship with
  • Personal enquiries by email concerning products, services, shippings, etc.

Please note that even if you use an informal register you might still want to address to the recipient with the more formal “lei” instead of the “tu”. Examples: a colleague that’s significantly older than you, a business contact you already have an established relationship with, etc.

Woman emailing a personal enquiry concerning shipping of a product delivery.

Informal letter greetings

While the formal register implies a certain distance from the recipient, an informal letter is more tricky: since the recipient might either be your cousin from Puglia or the colleague you’ve once talked to on Zoom, it can be hard to understand the right greeting. So, here you have a nice table:

EnglishItalianRelationship context
HiCiaoVery close, i.e. friends or family or colleagues you know very well
HeyEhiVery close, i.e. friends or family
DearCaro/aMay signify great affection (love, friendship, family) or a kind of respectuous proximity (sometimes used between colleagues or work acquaintances)
Hello / Good dayBuongiornoGood for any relationship that’s not too close, i.e. work, shopping enquiries, etc. Might be used with “tu” or “lei”

How to start an informal letter in Italian

Now let’s see how to start a letter in Italian in an informal register.

How are you?Come stai? [only good acquaintances]
I hope I find you wellSpero di trovarti / trovarla bene
Just reaching out to…Ti / La contatto per…
Attached you have that document you requested…In allegato trovi / trova il documento che hai / ha richiesto…
Concerning you request…Per quanto riguarda la tua / sua richiesta…

How to sign off or end an informal letter in Italian

And to close the cycle, let’s check out how to end an email or a letter in Italian in an informal way.

See you soonA presto
Have a nice dayBuona giornata
Have a nice eveningBuona serata
Have a nice weekendBuon fine settimana

How to write an email in Italian: Cultural tips

A few more pieces of cultural insight and advice to write an email in Italian:

  • Sometimes in work or business email communications Italians might be less polite and more direct than people from other countries and cultures. From their point of view, they’re not being rude but efficient. Don’t forget the amount of coffee Italians drink.
  • Even if they have become more and more popular in sales emails and other kinds of business communications, when writing to Italians, emojis should only be used with close acquaintances. We’d rather keep things professional.

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