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Ah, Italy in May. The ideal time to enjoy everything that the nation has to offer without the crowds of the busiest travel season. We won’t use corny references to “La Dolce Vita” or “When in Rome,” so don’t take our word for it. Let’s discuss why May is the best time of year to visit this well-liked Mediterranean location instead.

May is the ideal month to truly experience Italy like a local, thanks to the wonderful weather and the wide variety of festivals. So let’s pour ourselves an Aperol Spritz and explore what makes May in Italy so unique.

Visiting Italy in May - Fuse travels at Trevi Fountain

Where to go in Italy in May

Where to go in Italy in May will depend on a few different factors. Are you traveling alone or with your family? Are beaches not your top priority but you still want a taste of the summer in Europe?

I’d visit Rome and the southern part of Italy. I’d start by contrasting flights to Rome with those to Naples, the southernmost airport. I would probably fly there if Rome was less expensive before continuing south. Spend at least three days in Rome if this is your first trip.

We went to Southern Italy in November, just before the pandemic started, with my husband. I can’t wait to return when it’s warmer because it was beautiful. It is far too crowded in July and August, so I would never go during those months. May would be ideal.

Another option is to stay at a lesser well-known area in Almafi Coast, Puglia, Lake Garda or Cinque Terre.

Italy in May Weather

It usually warms up and is pleasant in Italy in May. Compared to Southern Italy, Northern Italy typically experiences cooler temperatures. In Northern Italy, including Milan and Venice, the average high temperature is roughly 68-72°F (20-22°C), and the average low temperature is roughly 50-55°F (10-13°C).

Rome, Naples, and Sicily in southern Italy experience average high temperatures of 75–80°F (24–27°C) and average low temperatures of 60–65°F (16–18°C). 

It’s crucial to remember that weather varies depending on location and altitude, so always check the forecast before traveling somewhere new.

Although it is rare and won’t ruin your trip, rain is possible in May. Overall, the climate in Italy in May is perfect for outdoor activities and sightseeing, so pack a light sweater or jacket for the evenings when it gets chilly and spend the warm days taking in all the nation has to offer.

Italy in May Positano tips
Photo by Freja Saurbrey on Unsplash

Is the water temperature warm enough in May?

In May, Italy, the weather is still regarded as being in the shoulder season, so swimming is not usually recommended. 60-65°F (15-18°C) is the typical water temperature in the Mediterranean Sea off the Italian coast in May.

Some of the most popular beaches in Southern Italy, such as the Amalfi Coast, Sardinia, and Sicily, have warmer temperatures in the range of 67-70°F (19-21°C), but it is still not the best time to swim because the water temperature is not considered warm enough for most people.

It is too cold for this warm-blooded Brazilian over here, so you will find me at the hotel’s hot tub if they have one.

However, May is a fantastic month for other water activities such as boat tours, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. The weather is ideal for a day trip to one of the nearby islands, where you can enjoy stunning views of the coast and crystal-clear waters.

You can also enjoy the scenery along the coast and, if desired, take a refreshing dip in the sea. So basically, you can still look cute and get all those IG-worthy photos.

What to Pack / What to wear in May

Let us start with my essentials Italy packing list.

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What to wear in Italy in May

As for what to wear as a woman, it’s important to keep in mind the local customs and culture, while also considering the activities you have planned for your trip.

It’s a good idea to pack clothing that is both comfortable and elegant because Italians generally dress more formally and stylishly than many people from other cultures.

Pack light and airy tops, dresses, or skirts made of natural fibers like cotton or linen for activities during the day.

Pants or cropped trousers are also acceptable if they’re not too casual. I am typically very casual and don’t do much elegance but there are exceptions due to special occasions or experiences.

Remember to pack a scarf or shawl to cover your shoulders and arms because many religious sites in Italy have dress codes.

Additionally, comfortable walking shoes are a must for exploring the cobblestone streets of many Italian cities.

You might want to dress a little bit more formally in the evenings, especially if you’re going to a fancy restaurant, the opera, or the theater. For a night out, you can look fabulous in a little black dress, a pair of dressy pants, or a stylish jumpsuit.

In general, finding a balance between comfort and style is key when packing for a trip to Italy in May. You’ll be prepared to explore everything that this stunning country has to offer if you’re dressed appropriately.

So adding on to my packing list if traveling in May.

  • Short or midi dress
  • Cute sandals
  • Flipflops
  • 2 Beach Cover Ups
  • 2 One Piece
  • A summer hat
  • Sunglasses, Love these by Sojos on Amazon

Where to Stay in Southern Italy in May?

Sorrento, Salerno, Praiano, Maiori, Cetara, or Vietri Sul Mare are some of the less well-known Almafi Coast towns where you should consider staying. These towns offer delicious regional cuisine and are more reasonably priced.

Then, you can use ferries to travel to the more well-known locations, including Positano and Ravello.

One choice of transportation is to use a bus. Several bus companies run regular services between Praiano, Salerno, and the Amalfi Coast towns of Almafi Coast and Positano.

The bus ride takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on traffic and the route.  I will never take the bus again in that region as it was super scary and my husband is afraid of heights.

Taking a ferry is another option. Ferries frequently run between Salerno and the Amalfi Coast towns of Almafi Coast and Positano. The ferry ride takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on the route. Check out ferry options.

You can also take a private car or a taxi, or even better, take a scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast, though it may be difficult due to the narrow and winding road, and parking may be difficult during peak season.

It’s worth noting that during peak season, public transportation can be affected by traffic and weather, as well as national holidays, so check the schedule ahead of time and plan accordingly.

We loved staying at Sorrento One Apartments.

Ferries from Salerno

Indeed, ferries connect Salerno with the towns along the Amalfi Coast and the nearby islands. Amalfi, Positano, and Capri are the most frequently traveled by ferry from Salerno.

Salerno to Positano takes an hour and a half by ferry, while Salerno to Amalfi takes about 40 minutes. whereas it takes the ferry from Salerno to Capri about one hour and thirty minutes.

It’s a good idea to check the schedule in advance and make plans accordingly because the ferry schedule and duration can vary depending on the season and the particular route.

It’s important to keep in mind that during the busiest times of year, the ferries can be extremely Additionally, it’s crucial to check the weather because in some cases, bad weather might cause the ferry service to be canceled. ferry service could be suspended due to the bad weather.

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Photo by Ryan James Christopher on Unsplash

Staying in Praiano

On the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy, a small coastal community called Praiano can be found. There are approximately 6,000 people living there. Couples seeking a more sedate and laid-back vacation will love Praiano because it is less commercialized and more genuine than some of the other Amalfi Coast towns, like Positano and Amalfi.

Check out Praiano Hotels.

One of the main activities in Praiano is to explore the town’s stunning beaches. Couples seeking a secluded location to unwind and sunbathe will find Praiano’s small beaches, such as Marina di Praia and Gavitella, to be the perfect choice.

Two small fishing communities in the area, Furore and Conca dei Marini, are excellent choices for couples hoping to get a sense of the customs and culture of the region.

Another favored activity in Praiano for couples is a boat tour of the Amalfi Coast. The town’s advantageous location enables you to explore neighboring towns like Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello as well as take in the stunning coastal scenery.

For couples interested in history and art, Praiano is home to the Chiesa di San Luca Evangelista, a 12th-century church with stunning frescoes and a imposing bell tower.

The delicious regional cuisine, which is based on fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients, is another reason Praiano is well known. Praiano has several excellent seafood restaurants where couples can enjoy a romantic dinner while overlooking the sea.

May Holidays in Italy

Labor Day, also known as “Festa del Lavoro,” is a national holiday in Italy that marks the end of the working year and the beginning of the summer season.

The 2nd of June is “Festa della Repubblica,” or “Republic Day,” which commemorates the anniversary of the Italian Republic’s establishment in 1946.

Additionally, regional holidays in Italy, such as the “Festa di San Giovanni” in Florence on June 24th, which is celebrated with a large fireworks display and other festivities, may affect travel plans.

The Giro d’Italia

Italy. It is one of the three Grand Tours (along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España) and is considered one of the most prestigious and challenging events in the sport of cycling.

The Giro d’Italia typically starts in the last week of May and lasts for around three weeks, covering a distance of approximately 3,500-4,000 kilometers (2,200-2,500 miles). The route changes each year but usually covers a variety of terrain including hills, mountains, and flat stages.

The race is divided into 21 stages, including individual time trials and mountain stages, and a final stage in the host city.,Paese%2C%20Chieti%20and%20Ripa%20Teatina.

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Please note that the route for the Giro d’Italia is subject to change each year, and the information provided is based on the most recent race. Therefore, it’s recommended to check the official website or consult the local media to know the current route and schedule of the Giro d’Italia.

They do have the updated route on their website, so check it if you plan to travel at the end of May.

Festivals in Italy in May

May is a busy month for festivals and events in Italy and here are some main ones. 

Festival dei PopoliFlorence
Maggio Musicale FiorentinoFlorence
Festival Internazionale del Teatro di SpoletoSpoleto
Festival della Valle d’ItriaPuglia
Fiera di San GiovanniFlorence
Festa di San GiovanniSan Giovanni in Persiceto

Please note that the schedule and activities of these festivals may change due to the current situation of the pandemic, so it’s always a good idea to check the official websites or consult the local media to know the current schedule of the festivals and events.

Recommended Couples Activities in Rome in May

Rome is a charming city with lots of activities for couples. Here are some of the top activities for couples in Rome in May:

  • Walk through the Villa Borghese gardens at sunset: The Villa Borghese gardens are a lovely and romantic setting for a stroll while the sun sets.
  • For a special dinner, consider going to one of the quaint and romantic trattorias or restaurants in Trastevere. 
  • Take a boat ride on the Tiber River: A boat ride on the Tiber River provides beautiful views of Rome and is a romantic and unique way to explore the city.
  • Take a cooking class as a group: Cook traditional Italian dishes and share a romantic dinner together.
  • Piazza Navona: This lovely square is filled with fountains, sculptures, and charming outdoor cafes, making it ideal for a romantic stroll.
  • Enjoy a glass of wine at a rooftop bar: Rome has many rooftop bars with great views of the city, ideal for a romantic drink.
  • Explore the Monti neighborhood: The Monti neighborhood is a charming and historic area of Rome known for its narrow cobblestone streets and bohemian atmosphere. Take a walk through the neighborhood and enjoy live music at one of the many bars and cafes,
  • If you are celebrating an anniversary or proposal, hire a professional photographer to capture this romantic moment.

Top Things to do in Rome in May for Families

  1. Visit the Roman Forum and the Colosseum; these historic sites are a must-see for families, and May is the ideal month to go.
  2. Walk through the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums: Some of the most well-known pieces of art in the world can be found in the Vatican Museums, and families must visit the Sistine Chapel.
  3. Visit the Bioparco di Roma: The Bioparco di Roma is a zoo that is housed in the Villa Borghese gardens. It is a wonderful destination for families with young children to take them to see a variety of animals, such as lions, elephants, and monkeys.
  4. Take a bike tour: Exploring a city on a bike is a great way to get some exercise while having fun. 
  5. Visit the Children’s Museum of Rome, a kid-friendly interactive museum with displays on ancient Rome, art, and science.
  6. Visit the “Gianicolo” hill; it offers a wonderful view of the city and has a playground and gardens for kids.
  7. Visit the Pantheon: This historic temple is fascinating and educational for families to see, and it is close to a small park where kids can play.

Check out Rome With Teens article.

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Couple visiting Sienna Italy

These are just a few of the numerous family-friendly activities Rome offers in May. As a result of the current pandemic situation, please keep in mind that the schedule and activities may change, so it’s always a good idea to check the official website or consult the local media for the most recent schedule of events and activities.

Puglia in May

A hidden gem that should be on every traveler’s itinerary is Puglia, which is situated in the heel of Italy’s boot. May is the ideal month to explore everything Puglia has to offer because the area comes alive with warm temperatures and lots of sunshine.

Visiting the stunning beaches in the area is among the best things to do in Puglia in May. There are numerous options for sun, sand, and sea, from the clear waters of Polignano a Mare to the untouched beauty of Porto Selvaggio.

May is also a fantastic month to go on a boat tour along the picturesque coastline of the area to see the cliffs, caves, and secret coves up close.

Discovering the charming towns and villages of the area is another must-do in Puglia in May. A highlight is the historic city of Lecce, dubbed the “Florence of the South” for its exquisite Baroque architecture and extensive cultural legacy. Other towns that are well worth visiting include Alberobello, which is famous for its trulli houses, and Ostuni, also referred to as the “White City” for its whitewashed buildings.

There are many options depending on your interests for the best places to stay in Puglia in May. Think about booking accommodations in Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, or Gallipoli if you want to spend your vacation by the beach.

If you’d prefer a more rural setting, there are many agriturismo options in the area surrounding Ostuni and Cisternino where you can stay on a working farm and eat delectable regional fare. Lecce is also a great choice for a city break, offering a wide selection of charming B&Bs and boutique hotels.

In other words, Puglia in May has something to offer everyone, whether they are seeking sun, sea, or culture. This region is sure to make an impression on any visitor with its stunning beaches, quaint towns, and delectable cuisine.

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Photo by Alessio Roversi on Unsplash

Visiting Cinque Terre in May

Every traveler’s bucket list should include a stop at Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the Italian Ligurian coast. Warm temperatures and clear skies make May a great month to travel because it’s the ideal time to explore this breathtaking area.

Hiking the renowned coastal trail that links the five villages is one of the best things to do in Cinque Terre in May. You can fully enjoy the breath-taking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the vibrant homes perched on the hillsides because the trail is less congested in the springtime than it is in the summer.

The hills are also covered in wildflowers in May, which makes for an even more picturesque scene.

The villages themselves should also be explored in May in Cinque Terre. Every one of them, from the colorful houses of Vernazza to the lively fishing village of Riomaggiore, has a special charm of its own. Don’t miss the chance to sample the local cuisine, including the region’s famous pesto and fresh seafood.

Each village in the Cinque Terre region has a unique personality, and the accommodations reflect that. For instance, Manarola is renowned for its picturesque harbor and small guesthouses, whereas Monterosso al Mare has a larger beach and a wider variety of hotels.

Consider staying in one of the nearby hilltop villages, like Volastra or Corniglia, which offer breathtaking views of the coast, if you’d like a more private experience.

Overall, Cinque Terre in May is a dream location for anyone looking for unspoiled scenery, hiking, and quaint towns. This location will win your heart with its delectable cuisine, pleasant climate, and picturesque surroundings.

Check out Visiting Cinque Terre in April.

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Lake Garda in May

The largest lake in Italy and a well-liked tourist destination, Lake Garda is situated in Northern Italy between Milan and Venice. With mild temperatures and fewer visitors than during the busiest summer months, May is a great month to travel to Lake Garda.

Taking a boat tour of Lake Garda in May is among the best things to do there. This is a wonderful way to discover the breathtaking scenery, including the quaint towns and villas that line the shore. You can also travel to Monte Baldo by cable car for a panoramic view of the lake and the nearby mountains.

The historic towns and villages of the area should also be explored while visiting Lake Garda in May. A well-liked tourist destination known for its Roman ruins and medieval castle is the town of Sirmione, which is situated on a small peninsula at the southern end of the lake.

Garda, with its lovely promenade and old-fashioned churches, and Desenzano, with its vibrant bars and eateries, are two other towns that are worthwhile visiting.

The best places to stay in Lake Garda in May can be found in a wide range of price ranges and tastes. If you want a lavish vacation, think about booking a room at one of the lakefront resorts like Bardolino or Peschiera del Garda. The towns of Limone sul Garda and Malcesine have a wide selection of inexpensive hotels and guesthouses if you prefer a more low-key experience.

Overall, Lake Garda in May offers the ideal fusion of breathtaking scenery, old-world charm, and leisure. It is understandable why travelers from all over the world adore Lake Garda given the abundance of opportunities for outdoor recreation, cultural exploration, and culinary delights.

Read my Italy in June post.

Don’t forget mom for Mother’s Day. Check out our travel lover’s moms’ day gift guide.

Fuse Travel full guide Italy in May
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