There’s a reason why so many travelers plan their trip to Italy in May. It’s one of the best if not the very best, seasons to visit the country. May is a fantastic time to visit Italy because the wonderful weather allows doing so much more than winter and summer.
The cold temperatures of the winter months are over and the summer heat is not here yet. Spring is in full swing and Italy in May blossoms around every corner intoxicating us with its flower scent and making everything pretty with bright colors.
Whether you are a fan of hiking in nature or long walks to discover the big cities, May in Italy has something to do for everyone. Our easy guide will help you decide whether May is the right time for you to plan a trip to Italy.
Is May a good time to visit Italy?
Italy in May is wonderful. The winter cold is a memory and the summer heat is not here yet so going for a hike, long walks, trekking, and exploring the big cities are all activities that you can enjoy more than in the following months when the sun starts to bite.
In May, virtually all Italian regions are great destinations. However, here are some pros and cons of visiting Italy in May.
- The weather. Weather-wise, May is hands-down one of the best months to visit Italy. From north to south, May is the warmest month of spring, and since the summer heat hasn’t arrived yet, walking and hiking all day won’t be a burden.
- The colors. Between the skies, the beautiful sunsets, and the colorful flowers decorating balconies and town squares, May is a feast for your eyes.
- The light. Photographers will love the light of May in Italy. Bright and balmy, it’s beautiful all day long through the evening.
- The crowds. In bigger cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice, you are going to find big crowds and the only thing you can do to save time is to buy your entrance tickets online to skip the line. Or you can go more offbeat, so skip the biggest tourist draws and head to lesser-known places like the gorgeous Abruzzo region, or the mainly uncharted but extremely interesting Marche region.
- The prices. With the high season being in full swing and crowds pouring in, prices inevitably go up. Think flights, hotels, and sometimes even restaurants in touristy areas. Most services will be more expensive in May than in other lower months.
Is Italy better in April or May?
Whether you should travel to Italy in May or April really depends on what you want to do. If you want to spend Easter in Italy, enjoy the spiritual atmosphere of the Holy Week, and get to know the local culture around this religious holiday, then April is your month.
If, on the other hand, you are more into nicer and more stable weather, sunny days, and less rain, then you should visit Italy in May because it’s the best month for hiking and outings in nature.
>> Check out our full guide if you are planning to visit Italy in April.
Is May a rainy month in Italy?
Being a spring month, in May in Italy there is still a chance to find sudden rainfalls. However, even if you get some showers, May is drier than March and April and days are usually sunny and pleasantly warm.
Can I swim in Italy in May?
While at the beginning of the month, the sea water is still cold, towards the second half, you will see many people hitting the beaches of Sicily and Sardinia and starting to swim. I don’t usually swim in May but in June because the weather and the water are warmer, and it’s when summer starts.
Weather in May in Italy
Warmer than April but not as hot as June, Italy in May gives us the perfect weather to both plan days out in nature and long walks to discover the art and history of big cities without covering too much or risking sweat.
Weather in May in northern Italy
The weather in northern Italy in May is wonderful. This is a fantastic month for sightseeing and delving deeper into the culture by taking day trips to smaller towns and the countryside. While the evening can still be breezy and require a light jacket.
- Milan: high 23°C (73°F) – low 14°C (57°F)
- Turin: high 21°C (70°F) – low 14°C (57°F)
- Aosta: high 21°C (70°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
- Venice: high 24°C (75°F) – low 12°C (53°F)
- Verona: high 23°C (73°F) – low 12°C (53°F)
- Bologna: high 23°C (73°F) – low 14°C (57°F)
- Ravenna: high 22°C (71°F) – low 12°C (53°F)
- Trieste: high 20°C (68°F) – low 11°C (52°F)
- Trento: high 18°C (64°F) – low 12°C (53°F)
- Bolzano: high 17°C (63°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
- Genoa: high 18°C (64°F) – low 11°C (52°F)
Weather in May in central Italy
- Rome: high 24°C (75°F) – low 13°C (55°F)
- Viterbo: high 21°C (70°F) – low 11°C (52°F)
- Florence: high 22°C (71°F) – low 11°C (52°F)
- Siena: high 21°C (70°F) – low 9°C (48°F)
- Pisa: high 20°C (68°F) – low 12°C (53°F)
- Lucca: high 21°C (70°F) – low 12°C (53°F)
- Perugia: high 22°C (71°F) – low 11°C (52°F)
- Assisi: high 21°C (70°F) – low 11°C (52°F)
- Arezzo: high 20°C (68°F) – low 8°C (46°F)
- L’Aquila: high 16°C (61°F) – low 6°C (43°F)
- Campobasso: high 21°C (70°F) – low 11°C (52°F)
Weather in May in southern Italy
- Naples: high 22°C (71°F) – low 15°C (59°F)
- Caserta: high 22°C (71°F) – low 12°C (53°F)
- Salerno: high 20°C (68°F) – low 11°C (52°F)
- Amalfi Coast: high 21°C (70°F) – low 14°C (57°F)
- Sorrento: high 20°C (68°F) – low 17°C (62°F)
- Positano: high 24°C (75°F) – low 16°C (61°F)
- Bari: high 21°C (70°F) – low 15°C (59°F)
- Foggia: high 25°C (77°F) – low 12°C (53°F)
- Lecce: high 24°C (75°F) – low 15°C (59°F)
- Alberobello: high 22°C (71°F) – low 13°C (55°F)
- Ostuni: high 23°C (73°F) – low 14°C (57°F)
- Reggio Calabria: high 20°C (68°F) – low 15°C (59°F)
- Matera: high 23°C (73°F) – low 13°C (55°F)
Weather in May in the Italian islands
- Palermo: high 21°C (70°F) – low 13°C (55°F)
- Agrigento: high 22°C (71°F) – low 14°C (57°F)
- Catania: high 24°C (75°F) – low 15°C (59°F)
- Taormina: high 20°C (68°F) – low 14°C (57°F)
- Siracusa: high 21°C (70°F) – low 17°C (62°F)
- Ragusa: high 22°C (71°F) – low 13°C (55°F)
- Cagliari: high 22°C (71°F) – low 14°C (57°F)
- Sassari: high 20°C (68°F) – low 13°C (55°F)
- Palau: high 20°C (68°F) – low 16°C (61°F)
- Nuoro: high 21°C (70°F) – low 10°C (50°F)
- Oristano: high 21°C (70°F) – low 13°C (55°F)
Important dates in May in Italy 2023
- May 1st – Labour Day. In Italy, May 1st is a public holiday, and schools, banks, and offices are closed. Depending on the city, there are also celebrations. In Rome, there is the annual concert organized by the national labor unions in Piazza San Giovanni with the performance of Italian and international artists from the early afternoon t
- May 28th – Pentecost. Taking place on the 50th day after Easter Sunday, Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles while they were in Jerusalem.
What to do in May in Italy
Attend local events
From the concert held on May 1st in Rome to countless sagre food fairs across the country, Italy in May is a vibrant destination of local festivals, religious rituals, and merrymaking.
Among the most famous festivals across Italy that take place in May include Festa dei Ceri (Ceri Festival) in the picturesque town of Gubbio near Perugia, the religious festival of Santa Cristina in Paulilatino organized near the important archaeological site of the Santa Cristina sacred well, and the mouthwatering Festival della Focaccia di Recco, near Genova, where they make the typical cheese-filled focaccia.
With Pasquetta (Easter Monday) officially kicking off the outings season, May is the best month to plan excursions and day trips in nature in Italy. From the Tuscan countryside to the Italian Riviera to the Alps in Valle d’Aosta to the towns and parks around Bracciano Lake, there are countless hiking opportunities and routes to enjoy in Italy.
Go to the beach
Even though you might not be able to swim everywhere in Italy in May, you can enjoy long walks, a lovely lunch or dinner, or a cocktail along the beach in many regions. I wouldn’t swim in northern regions like Liguria and its Cinque Terre, but some beaches in Sardinia, Sicily, and Puglia will be great for sunbathing and swimming.
If the weather is warm enough to enjoy some beach time and you are a fan of it, take advantage in May because when the coast is empty from the usual summer crowds, they are far more enjoyable and obviously cleaner.
Visit parks and gardens
Many national parks and gardens in Italy reopen in spring after the winter slumber. The pleasantly sunny weather and the colors of the blossoming flowers make the gardens beautiful places to spend a day out.
Some of the gardens and parks to visit in May are the Gardens of Trauttsmandorf Castle near Merano in Trentino-Alto Adige, Parco Sigurtà in Valeggio sul Mincio in the Veneto region, Giardini della Ninfa near Rome, and Bomarzo Sacred Wood park near Viterbo.
Take a road trip
May in Italy is a fantastic month for road trips. Literally, every region in Italy is perfect for a day trip. Once you sort out your papers and international license, all you need to do is to draw your itinerary.
Scenic regions where you can plan a road trip in Italy even with your own RV include Trentino-Alto Adige with its dramatic mountain peaks and beautiful valleys, the soft rolling hills of Tuscany and Umbria, the diverse landscape of the Abruzzo region, and the wild scenery of Sardinia.
Best places to visit in Italy in May
May is a fantastic time to visit Rome because the weather is lovely and walking around the city is very pleasant. However, landmarks are very crowded, so I would suggest either going offbeat or taking some day trips.
Even though it might not be warm enough to swim, you can visit some of the beaches near Rome, while if you would rather stay in the city, there will be plenty of things to do.
The weather in Rome in May is warm but not too hot, so walking around the alleys of the city center is very pleasant and so is ducking into the open-air Roman archaeological parks and discovering the local artwork. Most travelers, however, know this, and in May, you are bound to find quite large crowds, especially at the entrance of famous Rome landmarks such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum.
If you happen in Rome in spring and specifically at the end of May this year, don’t miss the shower of rose petals in the Pantheon on the 28th, the day of Pentecost.
Florence is one of the biggest tourist destinations and is always included in the classic 2-week Italy itineraries or even in shorter 10-day Italian vacations. If you are planning to visit Italy in May and it’s your first time in the country, Florence is a must. Keep in mind, however, that spring is the best time to visit Florence and you will inevitably find big crowds, especially in the most famous landmarks such as the Uffizi Gallery and the complex around Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral.
If you are staying only one day in Florence, you might not have much time to go beyond the historic center, and some of the places you should visit apart from the cathedral include Santa Maria Novella basilica and cloister, the Basilica of San Lorenzo, and Mercato Centrale for some delicious street food.
Should you prefer to have a more relaxed meal, check out our guide to lovely restaurants in Florence for first-time visitors.
An easy day trip from Florence, May is a great time to visit the beautiful medieval walled town of Siena because the best thing you can do here is to walk around the streets of the historic center spread out between the huge Piazza del Campo and around the cathedral.
The clear days of May are perfect in Siena to climb up Torre del Mangia tower in Piazza del Campo and the Facciatone viewpoint near the duomo to enjoy a fantastic view of the city center’s rooftops.
>> For more tips, check out our guide to a perfect day trip from Florence to Siena.
May is a perfect time to explore the five towns of the Italian Riviera known as Cinque Terre. You can do so by following the hiking routes that connect one another or by taking the local train that in a few minutes will take you from one to the next one and then stroll around the alleys of each of them.
The five villages of Vernazza, Monterosso sul Mare, Riomaggiore, Manarola, and Corniglia are all along the coast and offer beautiful views. Once you are done visiting them, you can stay further and keep exploring the Ligurian coastline in scenic towns like Portovenere, Lerici, Tellaro, and Le Grazie.
Italy’s largest lake, Lago di Garda is surrounded by picturesque towns, mountains, parks, and hiking routes. With all its gardens reopening in spring and the weather being warm but not too humid, May is a fantastic month to explore Lake Garda and its surroundings.
If you are a fan of lacustrine views, don’t miss places like the town of Villa del Garda in Trentino, an easy day trip from Trento, Parco Sigurtà which has reopened in March, the scenic town of Peschiera del Garda near Verona in the Veneto region, and Parco Natura Viva inhabited by different animal species.
Trentino-Alto Adige in spring experiences a sort of transition between the high winter ski season and the busy summer months. We have been to Trentino in spring and loved it, even though sometimes it was not easy because some services were on a break in between two busy tourist seasons.
Even though some landmarks, accommodation facilities, and even some restaurants might be closed, the Dolomites are wonderful in May. You can enjoy entire days hiking without suffering the heat and just take in the gorgeous views with still snow-capped peaks and colorful flowers on the slopes and the valleys.
The local ski resorts will be closed because the winter season is over and in many places, spring means rain and still some chilly temperatures. If the weather is not ideal for a day trip in nature, you can explore the big cities for some cultural sightseeing.
Some of the coolest places to visit in the region in May are Trento, the beautiful capital, visit castles like Castel Thun, picturesque buildings like San Romedio sanctuary, and cities like Merano, Bolzano, and Bressanone.
Popular all year round, in spring Venice offers its best. Strolling around its streets, canals, and bridges is a great way to enjoy the beauty of this unique lagoon city.
Once you are done visiting important Venice landmarks such as the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica, you can take the boat to the other islands of the Venice lagoon such as Murano, Burano, and Torcello.
In Venice, don’t miss a walk around the Jewish Quarter, an important landmark of the city’s history and a great neighborhood to sample the local cuisine.
An easy day trip from Rome, Viterbo is a fascinating destination to visit in May in Italy. Home to important buildings such as the Palace of the Popes, one of the best things and an absolute must to do in Viterbo is to walk around its old town.
The wonderful 13th-century San Pellegrino neighborhood is a feast of medieval buildings and Renaissance palaces sitting side by side with the workshops of traditional local professions that are still alive, like the typical ceramics.
Sardinia in May is lovely. If you are not a fan of summer beach brigades, your best bet is to enjoy the island in spring before these arrive. May is warm and sunny to allow for fantastic days out in nature but not too hot to force you to avoid the peak hours and interrupt your hiking adventures.
This is a fantastic month to descend Su Gorropu gorge near Dorgali on the eastern coast and visit the inland that you would usually avoid in summer because too hot. Some lovely villages you can visit in Sardinia in May are Tinnura for wonderful street art all over the local walls, Fordongianus for the ancient Roman thermal baths, Carbonia to visit the old mines, and Ghilarza where is the House Museum of Antonio Gramsci.
Among the bigger cities to visit in Sardinia in spring are certainly its beautiful capital Cagliari, the elegant Sassari, Nuoro, steeped in history and the birthplace of Literature Nobel Prize winner Grazia Deledda, and Olbia.
>> For more inspiration, don’t miss our guide to the best things to do in Sardinia.
Blessed with a mild climate all year round, Sicily in May starts to become quite warm, especially towards the end of May when summer approaches. With the weather that allows both visiting inland and going to the beach, in Sicily you are going to have a very diverse range of options for things to do.
If you are into art and history, get lost in the island’s important centers like the beautiful capital Palermo, Catania, Taormina, Siracusa, and Agrigento.
The white city of Matera becomes quite hot in summer, so May is the perfect time to visit the famous rock formations. What’s known as the Sassi di Matera are the two central neighborhoods of this quaint town in southern Italy, more precisely Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano.
This rugged rupestrian complex is made of buildings carved out of the local tuff caves and has been inhabited since the dawn of time. Due to these caves, the historic center of Matera is a scenic natural theater that was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1993.
The southern Puglia region, Italy’s heel, is a popular summer destination because of its stunning beaches, but being so rich in culture, traditions, and important historical buildings, May is a great month to travel there.
If you are visiting Puglia in spring, apart from some beach time, you can enjoy famous towns like the white city of Ostuni, the traditional Alberobello with its typical limestone dwellings, and the beautiful cities of Lecce, Bari, Locorotondo, and Otranto.
What to eat in Italy in May
- Su Filindeu. This typical and rare pasta from Sardinia’s Barbagia region is traditionally served on May 1st, even though today you can find it also in other periods and mainly made in Nuoro but only by a few women.
- Asparagus. This is a typical spring veggie very common in Italian cuisine, often used to make pies and frittatas.
- Agretti. Also known as friar’s beard, agretti is a long, thin green veggie that you can find served as a salad or as an ingredient for different dishes. I love agretti and order it whenever I find it on restaurants’ menus.
- Zucchini blossoms. When the sun starts becoming warmer and more present, zucchini and zucchini flowers start to be more present on the Italian tables. In Rome, stuffed or fried zucchini blossoms is a typical starter and street food.
- Fresh green peas. You will find green peas in many recipes in Italian restaurants in May, served to season pasta dishes, with meat and seafood, whole or in a cream.
- Fresh fava beans. Fava beans are also common in spring in Italy and are often used to make creams to season pasta, meat, or fish.
What to pack for Italy in May
- Travel documents. If you are a resident of the EU, your national ID paper will be enough, while a passport and a visa will be required if you come from outside the EU.
- Backpack/crossbody bag. You are going to opt for the crossbody bag if you are visiting landmarks like the Colosseum because backpacks are not allowed. But if you are planning on taking day trips and spending time in nature, you will need a backpack.
- Reusable water bottle. This is very handy to carry in your backpack and can save you plenty of money because you can refill your bottle pretty much everywhere with tap water in Italy.
- Camera. Italy in May is very photogenic, so a camera is a must to build travel memories.
- Sunscreen. May can be pretty sunny and sunscreen will be necessary even if you don’t have fair skin, especially if you are planning to stay out in the wild or on the beach for a few hours. still be windy and chilly at times so always a good idea to keep your skin moisturized.
- Nail clipper. This is never included in the hotels’ free courtesy sets and it’s one of the most useful travel accessories for men and also women.
What to wear in May in Italy
- Sweaters/jumpers. May in Italy can become quite warm, but since it’s still spring, you never know if and when the weather is going to suddenly change. I would pack a sweater or two in case of rain or for some fresh evenings.
- Long-sleeve tops. This is what you are going to wear most often in May in Italy and during the day you might not even need a jacket on top.
- T-shirts. Also short sleeves are common in May in Italy, more so in the second half of the month.
- Spring jacket. A jacket might be necessary on crisp nights, some possible cold or rainy days, or humid evenings.
- Walking shoes. This is a must if you are traveling to Italy in May whether you are planning on taking several day trips or even if you are going to stay in a city and explore it on foot.
- Socks/tights. Carry these if you are going to wear sneakers or runners, otherwise, also barefoot sandals are very common in Italy in May.
- Comfortable trousers. In May in Italy, you won’t be needing very warm trousers, so jeans or cotton trousers are enough.
- Shawl. This is something you might want to through over your shoulders if you are out at night and it’s fresh or humid.
- Sunglasses. These are a must in spring and summer in Italy.