May is an enticing month to explore Italy before the summer crowds arrive. Many museums and sights that closed during the winter, like Rome's Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco and Santa Maria in Aracoeli, start to reopen again, and much of the country experiences warmer, more pleasant weather. May is spring at its zenith, as Italy comes to arrive with colourful wildflowers, gorgeous blossoms, and the temperatures are comfortably mild. Italy's picturesque towns and historical villages look great in the golden early evenings and events like the Venice Biennale and winetasting in fabled Tuscan vineyards begin to beckon child-free travellers, giving you a glimpse of Italy at its best. We'll share all tips and tricks about the weather in Italy in May.
What is the weather like in Italy in May?Temperatures gradually warm up in May as summer approaches. In northern Italy, it’s usually a mild and relatively dry month with the occasional rain shower or two.
Sunseekers should aim for southern Italy to visit the likes of Naples and Sicily. Here you’ll find more sun, warmer temperatures and fewer chances of clouds or rain. You may even be able to hit the beach.
Rough Guides tip: a trip to Italy is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Do you want to get the best out of your trip? Check our Italy itineraries.
Is Italy warm in May?The weather in Italy in May is warm. As summer approaches, temperatures in most parts of Italy start to rise.
In northern Italy, including cities like Milan and Venice, May temperatures typically range from mild to warm, with average highs between 15°C (59°F) and 23°C (73°F). It can still be a bit cooler in the evenings and mornings.
In central Italy, May is usually warmer compared to the north. Average highs range from 17°C (63°F) to 24°C (75°F). The days are generally pleasant and warmer, while nights can still be slightly cooler.
Southern Italy experiences warmer temperatures in May. Average highs range from 18°C (64°F) to 25°C (77°F), making it feel more like summer. It's a great time to enjoy the beaches and coastal areas.
Rough Guides tip: read all about the best time to visit Italy throughout the year.
Is May a good time to visit Italy?May brings mild to warm temperatures across most of Italy, making it an ideal time for hiking in the Alps and seeing the largest and richest collection of art and culture in the world at the Vatican.
The weather in Italy in May is generally comfortable, allowing you to explore the exuberant cities filled with Baroque architecture like Lecce or escape the hordes at Como in the Italian Lakes region, an utterly beguiling region with stunning scenery.
May falls outside the peak tourist season in Italy, which means you can expect fewer crowds compared to the summer months. This allows for a more relaxed and enjoyable travel experience, with shorter queues at popular attractions and more availability at hotels and restaurants.
May is a beautiful time to bed down at a farm stay or a rural retreat in one of Italy’s lesser-known regions or somewhere as spectacular as Tuscany.
Stay at a beautiful hotel in San Gimignano, a medieval hill town halfway between Florence and Siena. Tuscany is known for its wines and food and that's what you'll be exploring on this tailor-made trip to Wine and Food in Tuscany which is perfect for a spring holiday in Italy.
Average rainfall in Italy in MayMay is characterised by milder and drier weather compared to the wetter months of spring.
In northern Italy, cities like Milan and Venice typically experience moderate rainfall. The average rainfall in Milan is around 74 mm (2.9 inches), while Venice receives an average of 67 mm (2.6 inches) of rainfall.
May is generally a drier month in central Italy. Rome sees an average rainfall of about 39 mm (1.5 inches), while Florence receives around 58 mm (2.3 inches) of rainfall.
In southern regions like Naples and Sicily, May tends to have less rainfall still. Naples receives an average rainfall of approximately 41 mm (1.6 inches), while Sicily sees around 23 mm (0.9 inches) of rainfall.
Festivals and events in Italy in MayWhether religious, traditional or cultural, there are literally thousands of festivals in Italy and sometimes the best are those that you come across unexpectedly in smaller towns. Some of the highlights for May are listed below:
- Cocullo - AbruzzoFestival of snakes (May 1). One of the most ancient festivals celebrating the patron saint, San Domenico Abate, in which his statue is draped with live snakes and paraded through town.
- Gubbio - UmbriaCorsa dei Ceri (May 15). Three 6m-high wooden figures, representing three patron saints, are raced through the old town by ceraioli in medieval costume.
- Siracusa, Sicily - Greek Drama festival (mid-May to end June). Classical plays performed by international companies in the spectacular ruins of the ancient Greek theatre.
- Countrywide Cantine Aperte (last Sat & Sun). Wine estates all over Italy open their cellars to the public.
Ready for your dream trip to Italy in May?Our tailor-made trip service allows you to go on the trip of your dreams without the planning or hassle. All of our planned itineraries are created by local travel experts and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.
- Lakes and Mountains of Italy (7 days): Commence your journey with 3 nights at Italy's picturesque Lake Como, where you can explore the region by boat or on foot. Next, venture to the serene Zermatt in Switzerland, offering a perfect setting for family strolls, hikes, and various outdoor activities amidst its tranquil nature.
- Fascinating Southern Italy (10 days): Southern Italy is a dream destination for many, with its charming towns dotting the Amalfi Coast, crystal-clear waters surrounding the captivating island of Capri, a foodie's paradise in Naples and its surroundings, and historical wonders like Pompeii waiting to be explored at your fingertips.
- Or discover more Italy itineraries.