Visiting Italy in May – Reasons to Go and What to Expect

italy in may

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Italy is undoubtedly at the top of the list of the most gorgeous vacation destinations. Each region has its appeal, from the historical wonders in Rome to the rolling hills of olive trees in Puglia. Now, what if you’re looking for a specific time to visit? Well, visiting Italy in May might just be the perfect time of year for you.

With May being a spring month, it’s simply one of the best times to visit Italy. The warmer weather starts to ramp up as summer approaches, making the coast the ideal place to soak up some sun. The wonderful weather also means outdoor activities are back on the cards, like exploring Cinque Terre or sailing along Italy’s lakes.

May can get busy in major tourist areas, like Rome, Lake Como, and the like, so booking your trip in advance is recommended. Since the high season of summer is just around the corner, if you want to avoid the crowds for the most part, it’s best to visit earlier in the month.

Depending on which areas you visit, you’ll also find different festivities to participate in, but more on that later. We’ve broken down everything about visiting Italy in May, from the climate in major cities to festivals and even what to wear. So, if enjoying gelato and admiring the spring flowers in full bloom sounds like your idea of heaven, read on to learn more.

Weather in Italy in May

may in italy

Italy’s weather in May is exceptionally welcoming, with mild temperatures and conditions made for blooming flowers. Travel is very comfortable, as you’ll avoid the blistering heat that sometimes comes at the height of summer in Italy. This makes May an excellent time to visit places like Puglia or the Amalfi Coast before the summer heat hits.

Italy’s weather conditions can vary between the north and south. In southern Italy, the average temperature ranges between 60°F and 75°F (16°C and 24°C), making it the warmest area. Central Italy is pleasantly warm, between 55°F and 70°F (13°C and 21°C). Then, northern Italy is the coolest, with an average temperature between 50°F and 70°F (10°C and 21°C).

In terms of rainfall, there are a few rainy days to be expected during this spring month, but the occasional showers aren’t enough to disturb the nice weather.

That said, it’s time to take a closer look at popular cities and destinations worth visiting in May. Here’s a quick rundown of the temperature in Italy in May and the weather conditions in some of the most prominent areas.

  • Rome Weather in May: When visiting Rome in May, you can expect temperatures to be between 55°F and 75°F (13°C and 24°C). It’s sunny days for the most part, with an average of five days of spring rain. 
  • Florence Weather in May: Florence offers some lovely temperatures in May that are similar to other parts of the country, between 54°F and 75°F (12°C and 24°C). The warm weather dominates throughout the month, with about eight days of rain.
  • Venice Weather in May: Since it’s in northern Italy, Venice is ever-so-slightly cooler than other areas, with temperatures between 55°F and 72°F (13°C and 22°C) on average. There are primarily dry, warmer days, but you can expect around seven days with rain.
  • Tuscany Weather in May: Generally, the region of Tuscany has an overall pleasant climate. The average temperatures range between 59°F and 73°F (15°C and 23°C). May is the sunniest month in the region, so only expect about eight days of rainfall.
  • Amalfi Coast Weather in May: May is a superb time to visit the Amalfi Coast, as the weather is nice and warm before the blistering summer heat comes around. Temperatures sit between 65°F and 72°F (18°C and 22°C), and there are about nine rainy days.
  • Italian Lakes Weather in May: In places like Lake Como or Lake Garda, you can expect more rain than other destinations in Italy, but the number of days varies slightly. Rainy days for Lake Como and Lake Maggiore average twelve, whereas Lake Garda has seven. In terms of temperatures, Lake Como sits between 54°F and 66°F (12°C and 19°C), and Lake Garda between 54°F and 74°F (12°C and 23°C). Lake Maggiore is roughly between 55°F and 70°F (13°C and 21°C) in May.
  • Cinque Terre Weather in May: Cinque Terre sits along the seaside, offering a lovely breeze from the sea to cool you down on hotter days in late spring. Temperatures in Cinque Terre are pretty similar to most of Italy, with averages between 59°F and 72°F (15°C and 22°C). There is a slight chance of rain with about seven days a month.
  • Sicily Weather in May: Like other Italian islands, Sicily is surrounded by stunning beaches, and luckily, the weather is great for some beach time with no issues. Temperatures are mild and warm, sitting between 63°F and 75°F (17°C and 24°C). Plus, it’s at the very bottom of southern Italy and is one of the driest regions, with only about two days of rain on average.

Best Places to Visit in Italy in May

visit italy in may

With Italy’s weather conditions in May out of the way, it’s time to look at the stunning areas, towns, and cities worth visiting. Now, what exactly are the best places to go in Italy in May?

Whether taking a private tour of Italy or even going solo, you’ll come across some of these incredible locations. Each destination boasts plentiful picturesque views, classic Italian cuisine, and vibrant local culture. But enough chatting, let’s dive right into the top places to visit in May that you should add to your itinerary.

Puglia in May

italy may temperatures

First, you’ve got Puglia, also known as Apulia, Italy’s heel or boot. The rolling hills of whitewashed buildings and luscious droves of olive trees give Puglia its character, and it’s no wonder tourists flock to the area. From the Alberobello UNESCO World Heritage Site to the brilliant beaches in Polignano a Mare, there is a lot to see — and May is the perfect time to do it.

Puglia can get exceptionally hot in the summer, so visiting in spring is a good idea. You’ll be greeted with temperate weather in early or mid-May before it gets too hot to handle. Temperatures range between 65°F and 72°F (18°C and 22°C). The warm temperatures are accompanied by minimal rainfall, with only around six days a month, so you’ll have plenty of time for outdoor activities.

So, where in Puglia should you explore? Places like Alberobello, Monopoli, Bari, Ostuni, Polignano a Mare, Lecce, and Itria Valley are all great suggestions. Each little town or city requires a lot of walking if you want to get into all the nooks and crannies, and May’s weather makes it more bearable. Puglia will also be slightly less crowded at this time of year, adding to the region’s allure.

TOP TIP: Check out some of these things to do in Puglia during your May-time visit.

untold italy puglia tours

Matera in May

may italy weather

Another place best visited in May is Matera, which is in the Basilicata region and a quick day trip from Puglia. The highlight of the city is the Sassi di Matera, or the Stones of Matera, an ancient rock settlement declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. These settlements — churches and homes — were carved into the sides of the Sassi Mountains over 9,000 years ago, making it an extraordinary place to marvel at and explore.

Like Puglia, Matera can get very hot in the summer, so visiting in May allows you to avoid most of that heat. This is especially important when spending most of your day here trekking through the city streets — you wouldn’t want to do so in uncomfortable heat. Bike riding and other outdoor activities are also far more pleasant thanks to the cooler May temperatures between 50°F and 72°F (10°C and 22°C).

Regarding tourist crowds, Matera might not get as busy as bigger cities like Rome or Florence, but it can still attract large crowds. Visiting in May allows you to bypass these peak-season visitors before the summer.

Amalfi Coast in May

best places to visit italy in may

Stretching from Vietri sul Mare to Positano in Salerno, Campania, the Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular locations in all of Italy. The breathtaking coastline, jagged cliffs, pristine blue waters, and the charm of each seaside town make it impossible not to visit.

It would be a complete waste not to enjoy a swim at the beach or a coastal boat ride while at the Almafi Coast. So, you can bet there will be plenty of time in the sun. May is a great time to be at any of the Amalfi locations for similar reasons, as you’ll miss out on the summer heat waves.

This month is particularly inviting as it’s before the tourist season kicks into gear in summer, so visiting within the first two weeks of May is best. You’ll avoid most of the hustle and bustle of tourist crowds that can make sightseeing much less pleasant. Plus, if you want to drive along the coast to multiple towns, you’ll find less traffic than in summer.

Italian Lakes in May

lake como italy in may

Italian lakes are quite the sight, boasting crystal blue waters surrounded by gorgeous greenery, looming hills, and towering mountains. The three biggest Italian lakes are Lakes Como, Maggiore, and Garda, each offering a unique paradise for visitors. To top it all off, May is one of the best times of year to visit the lakes for several reasons.

Firstly, like the Amalfi Coast, these lakes get quite a lot of traffic in summer as the high season approaches, so visiting in spring is good for avoiding the crowds. However, this is mostly true for the first two weeks of the month, when crowds are less. Visitors gradually start streaming in during the latter weeks of May.

The scenery surrounding the lakes also offers plenty of outdoor activities, like long walks alongside the shores, hiking up the nearby hills, or boating across the lakes. Of course, the cities themselves are worth exploring, too. The warm weather around the lakes in May is incredibly forgiving, so you can spend time doing these activities without getting too hot.

If you do plan on visiting one of these lakes in May, have a look at these posts for more inspiration:

Tuscany in May

may in tuscany italy

You’ve may have heard that you can’t visit Italy without traveling to Tuscany. Everyone else got that memo, too, considering how packed Tuscany gets all year round. Luckily, May is a superb time to avoid crowds for the most part. There will still be a fair amount of visitors, but you’ll miss the high-season craze.

You can enjoy all sorts of tourist attractions and stunning sites in May, from religious sites like Duomo di Pisa to one of the many museums like Uffizi Gallery or Academia Gallery. You also can’t forget to visit the region’s towns and cities like Florence or San Gimignano. Not only will you have fewer crowds to contend with, but you might also find some excellent deals and save some cash.

The Tuscan countryside in central Italy can also get quite hot in the summertime, so not to sound like a broken record, but you can avoid that heat in May’s mild weather conditions. Spring also brings gorgeous blooming flowers along the Italian countryside, so you’ll find some incredible and picturesque photo opportunities.

TOP TIP: Read this Tuscany travel guide for more helpful tips and tricks to simplify your trip planning.

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Piedmont in May

piedmont italy may temperatures

Last up on the best places to visit in May is the one and only Piedmont. This gorgeous Italian locale is nestled alongside the snowcapped Alps, giving it a magical atmosphere. The views are one of the many reasons why May is such a spectacular month. That said, there are many other things to do in Piedmont that might interest you.

With the mild climate showcasing warm temperatures between 54°F and 73°F (12°C and 23°C), you’ll be greeted with gorgeous natural scenery. These are also amazing conditions for outdoor activities, like hiking, cycling, or exploring cities like Turin, Asti, or Alba. Being so far north, Piedmont’s weather can be unpredictable, so you might find a few days of rain.

Unsurprisingly, Piedmont is less occupied during May, making it easier to explore the region without a fuss. If visiting a vineyard like Cascina Gilli is on your to-do list, you might enjoy the quieter private tours that come with fewer visitors.

TOP TIP: If you still have some questions, here’s a nifty Piedmont travel guide for more tips.

piedmont italy tour

Festivities and Public Holidays in Italy in May

may italy weather and festivals

What else is special about May in Italy? Well, not only does it offer amazing weather and fewer visitors flocking here, but it also brings a vibrant array of festivities that beautifully showcase the wonders of Italian culture. Spring is a time that celebrates the artistic, cultural, and culinary traditions of the country, so a trip in May is a must if you’re looking to immerse yourself.

It’s important to remember the dates of popular festivals and public holidays, as they can significantly change your itinerary and how your day-to-day will look. Let’s take a look at the major holidays and celebrations for you to watch out for when you’re in Italy in May.

  • May 1 — May Day/Labor Day: The first day of the month is Labor Day in Italy, and you can expect locals to be out and about with friends and family. Since it’s a national holiday, expect a lot of attractions to be closed, especially outside of major traveler areas.
  • May 9 — Ascension Day: Ascension Day is a Christian holiday in Italy that celebrates the ascension of Christ to heaven. While not an official public holiday, it is nationally recognized. Two of the most popular festivals held on this day are Festa della Sensa and Festa del Grillo. Festa della Sensa is held in Venice and celebrates the relationship between the city and the sea through boat rowing and water sports. The second is Festa del Grillo or the Cricket Festival in Florence. This is typically celebrated with food, music, and market stalls selling all sorts of goods, including live crickets.
  • May 17–21 (likely) — Infiorata di Noto (Flower Festival): Infiorata di Noto is one of Sicily’s most impressive spring festivals. Stunning flowers are arranged into long carpets and different tapestries of intricate designs based on different themes each year. The designs are remarkable, and you’ll appreciate the beauty of it all while walking through Sicily.
  • May 18 — Sagra del Limone (Lemon Festival): Monterosso is one of the five villages in Cinque Terre and is home to the Sagra del Limone, or Lemon Festival. It’s a welcoming celebration of all things lemon, like limoncello, creams, jams, marinated foods, and cakes. You can even spot vibrant yellow lemon-themed decorations throughout the town streets.
  • May 24–26 (likely) — Feast of San Giorgio: Festi di San Giorgio is a festival held in Ragusa Ibla in Sicily. The three days involve many festivities and celebrations to remember the patron saint, San Gorgio. You can expect lively parades, colorful light decorations throughout the streets, and fireworks. However, the festivities are most exciting on the final day.
  • May 19th – 12th June (7th Sunday after Easter) — Vogalonga Regatta: Rowers and sports lovers worldwide are attracted to the events at Vogalonga Regatta. This non-competitive race is held annually in Venice to raise awareness of lagoon degeneration. The floating city hosts thousands of boats and participants, so it’s certainly an event for the ages.
  • May 30 — Corpus Domini: One of the final celebrations of the month is the processions of Corpus Domini, celebrated across Italy. These festivities are observed mainly in Rome, Orvieto, and Kastelruth (also known as Castelrotto). Locals create exceptional floral carpets that portray various images and lay them across the town streets.

What to Wear in Italy in May

pack for italy may temperatures

You know what they say — responsible travelers plan their trips well in advance, and that includes a packing clothes list. Now that you know what to expect from the weather in Italy, it’s time to learn how to pack for Italy.

Since Italy in May is temperate but not too hot, you’ll want to pack in some light layers that are both comfortable and layerable. Summer clothing, like sundresses and shorts, work well. A lightweight cardigan or jacket will be good enough for the evenings. There is no need for thicker sweaters or coats. It’s also important to consider what you’ll be doing in Italy and tailor your outfits to your activities.

That said, here’s a glance at some clothing items to include in your luggage for a trip in May.

  • Sunhat — This will be helpful for long days at the beach or time spent exploring in the sun.
  • Comfortable walking or hiking trainers and sandals — You’ll walk a lot on your trip, so good shoes are essential.
  • Lightweight layers — Cotton shirts, blouses, skirts, or dresses are comfortable and will make sure you don’t get too hot.
  • Light jacket, jumper, or cardigan — To keep warm on those cooler nights.
  • Raincoat — While you might not always use it, it’s handy if it rains.
  • Bathing suit — This one is a no-brainer if you visit the beach or go swimming.

Is May a Good Time to Visit Italy?

the best places to visit italy in may

The moral of the story? Yes! May is a fantastic time to visit Italy.

The weather is the perfect balance of not too hot or cold, creating the ideal conditions for enjoying the Mediterranean sun without worrying about chilly water or soaking your clothes with sweat. With that in mind, outdoor activities like visiting Italy’s pristine beaches or hiking through the most scenic locations should be at the top of your to-do list.

May is also a lovely time to visit for deal-seekers and those wanting to avoid droves of travelers, as there are way fewer crowds. That said, the end of May starts to pick up with visitors as June looms around the corner.

If that wasn’t enough, May happens to be when spring festivals, like Infiorata di Noto or Vogalonga Regatta, are in full swing. What better way to fully immerse yourself in Italian traditions?

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to dive in headfirst and start planning your trip to Italy.

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