The spring in Italy was once the month of May. It was generally good weather, so it wasn’t surprising that people began to flock to Italy in May. This led to increased prices for hotels and airlines.
We now come to the present, where May is considered a high-season tourist season regardless of what season it might technically be.
It’s not to say that traveling to Italy in May is bad. There are reasons May is popular. It’s warm but not too warm. It is crowded but not overcrowded. This could be Goldilocks discovering Baby Bear’s porridge. You should be aware of the drawbacks of a May vacation and what to consider when planning your vacation.
Here’s everything you need to know about the weather and holidays in Italy if you plan to travel to Italy in May.
May Weather in Italy
It can be hot in May in Italy, as we have already mentioned. Although it’s not as hot and humid as Italy in the summer, May can still be warm. Over the past decade, summer heat waves have often struck Italy earlier in the year. This makes May hotter than usual.
Although it is more temperate in May, the temperatures get warmer south. While Italians may still be waiting until July or August to get their swimsuits out and head to the beach, it might be warm enough to enjoy some beach-going on your May trip. Keep in mind that the evenings can be cool enough to require a light layer of clothing for the walk back from the late-night meal. Rain is not uncommon, so make sure to keep an eye out for the weather forecast.
Below are some average temperatures for May in different regions of Italy:
- Northern Italy: 50-70degF (10-21degC).
- Central Italy: 55-70degF (13-21degC)
- Southern Italy: 60-75degF (16-24degC).
As always, make sure to check the extended forecast for the place you are actually going before you leave. This will allow you to know in advance if it is unseasonably warm or cold.
Continue reading on my Italy weather page
Italy Festivals and Holidays, May
Italians celebrate International Workers’ Day on the first day of May. It’s a day that Italians enjoy spending time outdoors, especially if the weather is good. This includes picnics in the country, trips to the mountains, and other outdoor activities. Many attractions close on this day, even the large ones that seem to be open all the time. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants closed as their owners take the day off. You can spend May 1 in Italy by visiting a market to pick up the ingredients for a picnic, and enjoy the same day as the Italians.
Italy’s Giro d’Italia is similar to France’s Tour de France. It’s a three-week long bike race. The Giro is held over a three week period in May. The dates and routes change each year. It’s unlikely that the race will impact your trip, especially if you use public transport instead of renting a car. If you are curious or want to make sure that you don’t get stuck on the roads because of a bike race, then you can check out the race schedule and route. You should also look at the route as hotels and other accommodations are booked well in advance for both the start and finish cities.
Other Italian holidays are available in May. These include the Corsa dei Ceri (Race of the Candles), in Gubbio, and, more often, a flower-carpet festival. Check out my Italy holidays page for more information.
Why should you visit Italy in May?
As I stated at the beginning, a May trip in Italy is not going to be as affordable as you thought. May is the beginning of high season in Italy, which means higher prices and larger crowds. While the crowds seem to grow in tourist areas in June and July, May feels a lot more crowded.
Touristy sights are touristy because they’re touristy. May in Italy is now high season for good reason. It’s summer-like which is what most tourists want, but it’s not as hot as August. For families with children under the age of 12, it is necessary to travel to Italy by June. If you are able to get there in May, you will be able to beat that crowd by a hair.
May can be a difficult month for travelers with tight budgets. Even if you don’t visit the major tourist destinations, you can still find a good deal. However, accommodation prices almost everywhere skyrocket starting May 1. You might need to choose a different time of the year (I recommend April).
May is a great month if money is not your main limiting factor. The rolling hills of Tuscany are still green from spring rains. In most touristy areas, the locals have not been overwhelmed with tourists yet. This can cause even the nicest people to be a bit irritable after a few months. May is a great month for beautiful weather and manageable crowds.