Maurizio Primavera, 48, died when his aircraft crashed into a closed restaurant in Cirò Marina, a coastal town in southern Italy.
His 59-year-old passenger, Claudio Rende, is in a serious condition in hospital, Tgcom24 reported.
The pair had been flying over the town to drop flyers announcing the birthday of a local person, when the aircraft rapidly lost altitude.
It was spotted changing direction towards to the sea, but crashed before Primavera could make a safe landing.
The pilot was also a qualified flying instructor and flew across the region, Tgcom24 said.
An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the crash, which happened in good weather conditions.