Weather in Italy in May

Is May a good time to go to Italy?

Spring is in full bloom and May is just as often a summer month. It is the last period of the year where good weather comes reasonably cheap; from here on out it will get more expensive until the autumn dip in September. The days are getting longer, which means longer hours at attractions and warmer nights. While there are more crowds than early spring, it is still easier travelling than from June to mid-September. The country pops with colour as the spring bloom is in full swing and the atmosphere is upbeat and lively because winter is completely over. 


Climate in Italy in May

May is warm, reaching up to 23°C (73°F) in some places and high in to the 20s (78°F) inland and further south. Sea temperatures are an inviting 18°C and with the sun out, it is time to head to the beach. With little more than 70mm (2.8in) rainfall in the wettest spots, it is a relatively dry month. There have been heat waves in northern Italy in recent years and, when this happens, the south is scorching, so be prepared for some near unbearably hot days. 


What’s on in Italy in May

May Day is a public holiday dedicated to Italy’s workers and also the start of Sagra di Sant Efisio, an important four day procession from Cagliari to a church on the beach of Nora; an intriguing local tradition. Starting in May, the Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is the biggest classical music festival in Italy, two months of concerts and events. Participants in the Calendimaggio festival entertain the crowds with archery exhibitions, dance, drink and various performances in Assisi, Umbria, all while donned in medieval garb. On one of the Saturdays in mid-May, major museums open late into the evening and host special events; it is a wonderful experience to come back in the daytime to see the art with a different lens.


What to pack for a holiday in Italy in May

It’s easy to travel light at this time of year and it’s probably best because lugging heavy bags down cobbled streets in the heat isn’t holiday fun. Pack comfortable synthetic trousers, decent shorts, T-shirts, one or two light long sleeved shirts and a light raincoat, especially for the south. Italian summer style is not like Thailand or Hawaii, where shorts and sleeveless shirts are the norm, so while it is best to travel in something comfortable, try to bring comfortable clothing with a bit of style– it makes it easier to fit in. This is however, a place where no one will look twice at a speedo on the coast, so don’t be shy at the beach. 

Churches and monasteries refuse entry to those deemed inappropriately dressed, so make sure to dress conservatively and cover up when visiting such attractions. May weather is ideal for hiking, so pack an extra pair of comfortable walking shoes and don’t forget something a little warmer for elevated regions. It is also a good idea to bring along an extra covering, like a light sarong or scarf, for extra hot days on the beaches and cooler evenings.