Background: Pulmonary embolism (PE) has been described in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) critically ill patients, but the evidence from more heterogeneous cohorts is limited. Methods: Data were retrospectively obtained from consecutive COVID-19 patients admitted to 13 Cardiology Units in Italy, from March 1st to April 9th, 2020, and followed until in-hospital death, discharge, or April 23rd, 2020. The association of baseline variables with computed tomography-confirmed PE was investigated by Cox hazards regression analysis. The relationship between d-dimer levels and PE incidence was evaluated using restricted cubic splines models. Results: The study included 689 patients (67.3 ± 13.2 year-old, 69.4% males), of whom 43.6% were non-invasively ventilated and 15.8% invasively. 52 (7.5%) had PE over 15 (9–24) days of follow-up. Compared with those without PE, these subjects had younger age, higher BMI, less often heart failure and chronic kidney disease, more severe cardio-pulmonary involvement, and higher admission d-dimer [4344 (1099–15,118) vs. 818.5 (417–1460) ng/mL, p <0.001]. They also received more frequently darunavir/ritonavir, tocilizumab and ventilation support. Furthermore, they faced more bleeding episodes requiring transfusion (15.6% vs. 5.1%, p <0.001) and non-significantly higher in-hospital mortality (34.6% vs. 22.9%, p = 0.06). In multivariate regression, only d-dimer was associated with PE (HR 1.72, 95% CI 1.13–2.62; p = 0.01). The relation between d-dimer concentrations and PE incidence was linear, without inflection point. Only two subjects had a baseline d-dimer <500 ng/mL. Conclusions: PE occurs in a sizable proportion of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The implications of bleeding events and the role of d-dimer in this population need to be clarified. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2020, The Author(s).