Designed concurrently with the Z.1007, the twin-engine Z.1011 was initially highly favored by the Regia Aeronautica for medium bomber use. Five prototypes were built in 1935-36. Although the twin-engined layout offered a more satisfactory nose design for bombing operations than the classic three-engine arrangement, the 1680 h.p. offered by the two Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI R.C.15 engines fell far short of the power required for satisfactory performance, in spite of the relatively light empty weight of 12,540 lb. The five prototypes were eventually used as personnel transports for high-ranking officials. At least one Z.1011 was fitted with 800 h.p. Isotta-Fraschini K.14 radial engines.
Like most other Cant aircraft, the Z.1011 was of wood structure with plywood skin. Compared to other members of the Zappata family, however, it was notably angular and ungraceful. Armament consisted of five machine guns, two each in dorsal and ventral turrets aft of the wings, and one hand-held gun in the nose. Performance included a maximum speed of 230 m.p.h. at 14,760 ft., a cruising speed of 193 m.p.h., a landing speed of 78 m.p.h., a range of 1242 miles, and a ceiling of 26,240 ft. The Z.1011 could climb to 9840 ft. in 11 min. 42 sec., and to 16,400 ft. in 19 minutes. Span was 92 ft., length 55 ft. 9 in., height 17 ft. 2 5/8 in., and wing area 860.8 sq. ft.