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Packing for Rome in May

Packing for Rome in May? Wondering what to bring and what to wear when you visit Rome in May

how people dress in Rome in mayAt the Trevi Fountain in mid-May, people are wearing a mix of long pants or shorts, short-sleeved tops, and mostly close-toed shoes.

Find out what kind of weather to expect, how to dress, and what not to leave at home!



Packing for Rome in May - what to bring and how to dress

The most important thing remember when packing for Rome in May is that it isn't quite as hot as you might expect, especially at the start of the month.

We do have some gorgeous, warm, sunny days in May, but generally the evenings are still fairly cool and we still get some spring rain showers now and again. It's a great month to be out and about exploring Rome as a result, as the consistently warm temperatures are ideal for being out and about all day!

Whether you're visiting Rome in early May, mid-May or at the end of May, I recommend packing a mix of layers, some lighter and some slightly heavier so that you'll stay cool during the day and keep warm at night.

On this page you'll find:

Dressing for the sun in Rome

While still a spring month, it can start feeling pretty warm in Rome in May, especially towards the end of the month. If you're visiting Rome and it starts to heat up, it's important to make sure you come prepared.

Loose cotton and linen clothing is ideal, so think cotton t-shirts, maxi skirts or loose pants and don't forget to stay hydrated.

I would recommend bringing a sun hat, one you can easily pop in your backpack ready if you need it when you're exploring Rome.

When packing for Rome in May, I would also suggest bringing comfortable walking sandals or cotton tennis shoes that are suitable for wearing when the weather is warmer.

For more tips on staying cool in Rome, visit my page here.

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Packing for Rome in May - Essentials

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I walk around Rome a lot.

I love to walk everywhere when I can, because in Rome there is always something new to see. I also love looking at things I know well, like the Colosseum, and seeing it in a new light, or finding a new detail.

So believe me when I tell you, I know just how to dress in Rome year-round.

These are my personal recommendations for what to include in your packing for Rome in May, many of which I own or use:

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With the warm weather, a lot of people want to walk around Rome in shorts. While Romans won't dress this way, you can if you want to.

But if you are visiting any church (that includes St Peter's Basilica), or other Christian site, you cannot have bare knees. These hiking pants with removable leg are perfect for a quick change.



Here is the men's version of the same type of hiking pant, with leg bottoms you can un-zip easily.



I say this on every page about what to pack for Rome, but it's because in Rome, you can never go wrong carrying a scarf with you, especially in spring months.

Packing for Rome in May should include a light cotton scarf, which can warm you up on a chilly evening, or if you need to cover bare shoulders to go into a church.



maxi skirt is another good way to be cool and comfortable sight-seeing, but also appropriate for visiting churches and Christian sites like the catacombs.



T-shirts are the perfect thing to pack for Rome in May, since they are short-sleeved for warm weather, but still cover your shoulders.



light cardigan is a must for travel to Rome in May, and is easily packed in your luggage but also your bag or backpack while you walk around Rome.



cotton pullover is another way to stay comfortable, as you can be flexible with the changing temperatures during the day, as well as staying appropriately dressed for sightseeing in Rome.



I love my lightweight down jacket. It's perfect for fitting underneath another light outer jacket, or for bunching up and sticking in my bag or backpack.

It's ideal for sightseeing in Rome in May, when you might find yourself in an unexpectedly chilly place or realize it's cold right when the sun goes down.



Another ideal spring item is this light cotton golf jacket.

It's light and comfortable for chilly evenings or sightseeing in cold places (underground or inside some churches), and it's so easy to carry in your backpack.

When packing for Rome in May, don't forget to include the following items in your packing list:

  • Sunblock/sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome

Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.

In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.

And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.

Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.

What to wear in Rome in early, mid, and late May

The weather in Rome in May can be quite unsettled at the start of the month, but by the end of the month it is generally sunny and warm.

The temperature in Rome at the beginning of May averages around 65-69 Fahrenheit/18-20 Celsius during the day and around 50-53 Fahrenheit/10-12 Celsius during the night.

By the end of the month the days are much warmer, averaging around 75-79 Fahrenheit/23-26 Celsius, and the evenings are also warmer, averaging around 55-59 Fahrenheit/13-15 Celsius.

beautiful sunny days in rome in mayPacking for Rome in May? Come prepared for lots of warm sunny days!

Whether you're packing for Rome in May for the beginning, middle or end of the month, you'll definitely want to bring some good basics for layering such as light cotton t-shirts, light cotton pants, and a cardigan or pullover for when it feels cooler. 

To be more specific:

Packing for Rome in early may

In early May, the weather in Rome will be more unpredictable, so be sure to pack some heavier layers, especially for the evenings. 

Packing jeans or heavier cotton pants is a good idea, although if the sun is shining you'll probably feel more comfortable in lighter layers, especially if you're out all day exploring Rome.

The evenings will feel quite a bit cooler, so be sure to bring a jumper or cardigan with you to stay warm, and a light scarf is always a great idea as well.

early may what to wearIn early May, it's warm enough to have dinner outside in the evening, but people are still wearing long pants and long sleeved tops or jackets.

It's also more likely to rain at some point during a trip to Rome in early May than at any other point in the month, so I'd recommend bringing a travel umbrella that can fit in your bag or backpack in case you need it suddenly.

Packing for Rome in Mid-may

The weather in Rome by mid-May is much more consistent, so you'll likely have warm sunny days for the majority of your trip. 

Include lighter clothing like cotton t-shirts and light pants or maxi skirts in your packing, maxi skirts or dresses are also a good option. 

Romans don't tend to wear shorts in the city, certainly not short shorts, but if you want to, of course that is up to you. They are used to tourists doing it.

Be aware that if you plan to visit any churches or other Christian site, you will not be allowed in with bare knees or shoulders, so be sure to bring some clothing that covers these if you are planning going inside churches.

how to dress in rome in mid-mayThese people in front of the Castel Sant'Angelo in mid-May are wearing lighter clothing, including some shorts and tank tops, but generally you'll see long pants and t-shirts being worn.

The sun will feel warm but once you go inside an underground site, some churches or when the sun goes down, it will be cooler. Bring a light sweater/cardigan or a jacket with you ready for when you need it to stay warm. And don't forget that scarf!

Packing for Rome in late may

By the end of May, the weather in Rome is perfect. The days are long and warm without being humid, ideal sightseeing weather! If you're looking for sunshine when you visit Rome, a trip in late May gives you the highest chance of consistently sunny days. 

how to dress in rome in late mayOn this sunny day at the end of May in Rome in Piazza Navona, you'll see most people wearing shorts and short-sleeved tops during the day.

If you're packing for a trip to Rome in late May, you can bring a pair of shorts or a skirt for the daytime, but light cotton pants are also great, as well as being more versatile for visiting different sites and churches during your trip.

The evenings will also be warmer, but I would still recommend packing a light cardigan or jacket to put on when the sun starts to set, especially if you are planning on eating dinner outside.

General Rome packing tips for any time of year

So what else do you need to consider when packing for Rome in May?

These are just a few of my personal recommendations for what is essential to pack for Rome, any time of year:



Sunglasses!


medications

Any medications you take, along with a list of these medications - I would recommend keeping these with you in your carry-on, rather than packing them in your checked luggage.


passport

Photocopies of your passport.



Plug converters for your dual-voltage appliances. Voltage in Italy is 220, and in the US and some other countries, it's 110. Most electronic devices (cameras, cell phones, laptops, electric shavers) default to dual voltage, but you will need a plug adapter as the plug shapes are different here. This universal adapter covers you in multiple locations if you travel to different parts of the world.



Carrying a well-stocked first-aid kit will ensure peace of mind when traveling. I always like having one with me when I travel, it’s very handy for when you need something quickly.



Travel insurance isn't something to pack but it is something not to forget!

I can't tell you the times our B&B guests had lost luggage that never arrived, had flights cancelled or delayed, or had documents/wallets pickpocketed. Double check what your credit card covers - chances are you are not covered for what you need when these things happen!

I've got lots more suggestions for what to bring when you visit Rome.

As well as the specific information here about packing for Rome in May, see my page about What to Pack for Rome where you can download a handy packing list, and visit my Amazon page for all my shopping recommendations!

What to wear in Rome in May

So how should you dress when you visit Rome in May?

My top tip for any time of year is to wear comfy shoes, as you'll most likely be doing a lot of walking.

Rule 1: Be Comfortable!

My number one rule for sightseeing in Rome, all year round: be comfortable.

This is most important for your feet. It is crucial to wear good walking shoes with good quality socks, or good walking sandals.

Bringing shoes you have already broken in is essential, and don’t worry about looking like a tourist - that’s exactly what you are!

As Rome in May is much warmer, it can be tempting to wear light sandals or flip flops. But bear in mind that you will likely be doing a lot of walking and Rome's cobblestone streets are killer on your feet if you don't have sturdy enough shoes. 

When packing for Rome in May, I would recommend bringing some sturdy walking sandals or good cotton tennis shoes that give your feet enough support.

Rule 2: Dress in Layers

The next rule is: dress in layers.

While the weather in Rome in May is generally good, the temperature in the evenings does drop quite a bit and it will feel cooler.  It's best to wear breathable layers that you can remove/put on easily according to whether you're out in the midday sun or eating dinner outside, such as light cotton t-shirts, cardigans/pullovers/jumpers and light jackets.

I would also recommend wearing a backpack as you walk around Rome, so you can have a place to put your layers if you take them off, along with your umbrella ready in case it rains.

Bottom line, to sightsee comfortably in Rome in May:

  • Wear comfortable shoes/walking sandals
  • Dress in light cotton pants, capri pants or a long skirt
  • Wear a light cotton top 
  • Bring a cardigan/pullover and/or a light jacket in your bag
  • Bring a light cotton scarf for men and women
  • Don't forget your sunscreen and sunglasses!

Unless you are planning on attending a special event, there is no need to bring dressy clothes to Rome.

When packing for Rome in May, it is fine to wear more casual clothes to eat out at many restaurants in Rome so you do not need to pack much, if any, evening-wear.

Find more information on what to expect when traveling to Rome in May here.



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