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Rome in May

Coming to Rome in May?

Spring is definitely here!

Flowers are blooming all over the city, and the weather is fantastic for sightseeing - warm during the day and cool at night. 

monti neighborhood with blooming may flowersIn May in Rome, you'll see flowers like this everywhere, such as this sweet street in Monti neighborhood

Rome in May - At a Glance

Here's what you need to know:

Weather in Rome Italy in May

I always think of May in Rome as a warm month.

But the reality is that I also never change my down comforter for a lighter blanket until the end of May. And I never put away my winter clothes until then either.

May in Rome can be cooler than you think, especially at the beginning of the month.

In the beginning of May, it can still rain a bit, and temperatures are in the low 20's C / low 70's F during the day, and chilly in the evening.

piazza navona end of mayThis warm sunny day in Piazza Navona is typical of Rome in May

By the end of May, the nice weather is definitely settling in and you can count on fairly consistent long, warm sunny days and perfectly comfortable evenings.

During the day it's in the mid- to high 20's C / high 70's, low 80's F, and in the evenings, it's in the high teens C / high 60's F.

What to Pack for Rome in May

We can have some beautiful sunny days in Rome in May, but it is still spring. This means that you'll need a mix of lighter and heavier layers when packing for a trip in May as it isn't as warm as you might think it will be, especially in the evenings.

A mix of cotton t-shirts, long skirts or pants, light cardigans or jumpers is ideal, so you can layer up when it feels cooler.

Visit my page all about what to pack for Rome in May for specific recommendations, suggestions on what to wear in Rome in May and more!

For more packing tips, and a downloadable packing list, visit my page about What to Pack for Rome.

Visit my Amazon page for all my shopping recommendations!

What to Wear in Rome in May

For sight-seeing in May in Rome, here is the ideal way to dress:

  • Extremely comfortable shoes/sturdy walking sandals
  • Light cotton long pants or capri pants, or a long skirt
  • T-shirt or polo or other light cotton top
  • Cardigan, pullover, and/or light jacket in your bag
  • Cotton scarf for men and women in your bag
  • Don't forget your sunglasses and sunscreen!

Days will usually be warm enough to wear light clothing, but you will do well to be flexible and prepared for cooler temps, in particular in the shade, on an underground visit, or as the sun goes down.

sight-seeing in may in rome, at castel sant'angeloSight-seeing in Rome in May, at Castel Sant'Angelo. Most people are wearing cotton pants and short-sleeved tops

As I've said on other pages, 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.

But if you plan to visit any churches or other Christian site, you will not be allowed in with bare knees.

eating outside at night in may in romeMay is a lovely time to have a drink or dinner outside in Rome. Just bring a light sweater or pullover in case.

Rome in May - What to Expect

Rome is absolutely beautiful in May.

The days are sunny and long and there is usually not a lot of rain. And you will find the streets, plazas, restaurants and sites packed.

Is it crowded in Rome in May?

I'm not sure why but a lot of people seem surprised to find that May is a busy season in Rome.

But for those who can pick what time of year to visit (not tied to a school calendar for example), the choice is usually spring or fall, precisely because of this nice mild weather. 

May is one of the best months for sight-seeing in Rome. Flowers are blooming everywhere, the days are long, and the weather is (usually) just right.

The weather is not too hot and it's just perfect for sight-seeing and enjoying eating and drinking outside. You can even get in some beach time. 

So come and enjoy Rome in the sun and warmth, and just plan your visit to avoid crowds when you can!

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.

Foods in Season in Rome in May

Artichokes are still in season but they are pretty much ending. By the time May rolls around, I find myself not eating artichokes any more. They are starting to get tougher and have more of the choke/fuzzy bits. 

Fava beans and peas are in season. A popular thing to do in Rome on May 1 is eat fava beans with pecorino cheese. And so in Rome in May you may find pasta with mussels, fava and pecorino cheese. This is one of my favorite spring pasta dishes!

maltagiati with cozze fave and pecorinoMaltagliati (pasta) with mussels, fava beans and pecorino, at Suburra. A spring delicacy and I love it!

May in Rome is a fantastic month for taking a food tour.

It's warm but not too hot to walk around, and you will get to taste and learn about a lot of these seasonal specialties.

Sign up now for a Rome Food Tour!

Spring fruits and vegetables are also coming into season. Strawberries are easy to find, and they are deep red and really sweet.

By now we are seeing all kinds of juicy tomatoes in the market and so it's a great time to start enjoying caprese salad: fresh mozzarella and tomato.

mozarella and tomato at obicaObica is one of the best places in Rome to get superb mozzarella and enjoy a fresh caprese salad


There are some things that happen every May in Rome. Here are some dates to watch for:

May 1 or May Day

May 1 is a national holiday called International Workers' Day, or May Day. It's celebrated throughout most European countries and is a kind of Labor Day.

I find that Romans enjoy it more than anything as a day for a picnic or big outdoor lunch.

In May 2020, many sites and monuments are OPEN on May 1!

Some may close on May 2 instead.

The following sites are CLOSED on May 1 2020:

The following MAY open May 18, 2020:

See further down the page for some exhibits you can visit on May 1.

If you are not sure what to do on May 1, you can search for tours running that day.

Click here to get started with Get Your Guide.

Flowers in Rome in May

Rome's Roseto Rose Garden on the Aventine Hill is open (almost) only in the month of May (actually it opens on April 21 and closes mid-June.)

But May is when you will see the roses at their most beautiful and in full bloom. It's not only free, but it's usually fairly uncrowded.

With beautiful views of the Palatine Hill as its backdrop, visiting the Roseto Rose Garden one of my favorite special things to do in Rome in May.

roseto rose garden in maySurround yourself with beautiful roses of all varieties. Add the Palatine Hill as backdrop, and you have a wonderful, quiet escape from crowds in Rome in May

Speaking of flowers, from mid April through early May, the Spanish Steps are covered in azaleas. It makes the Spanish Steps more beautiful than ever, and is even more special since the flowers are only there for a few weeks.

spanish steps in rome covered with azaleasSpanish Steps covered with azaleas. They are even more wonderful to see at 7:30am before the crowds arrive!

The best time to see them like this without the crowds is at around 7:30 in the morning.

Come check out the Romewise YouTube channel (and subscribe please!), and watch this video of the Spanish Steps early morning, before the crowds get there:

Rome in May - things to do

Free Things to do in Rome in May

Because of the global situation with Covid-19, we do not know if any event and/or sight will be held/open in Rome in May, 2020. 

If anything does open, it will be from May 18 onward.

We are monitoring this situation closely ever day and will update this page and any relevant pages and current events as soon as we know more.

A Few More Free Things to Do in Rome in May

In early May, you may visit hundreds of buildings, palazzos, ruins and monuments in and around Rome for free. Weekend of May 16-17 2020.

The project is called Open House Roma, and includes a wide range of properties, from contemporary to ancient. The site is only in Italian, but you can see photos of the many places you can visit, and if you click on any one, it will open a map of where it is.

More things happening in Rome in May

If you are a tennis buff, you may already know that every May, the BNL Tennis championships are held at the Olympic Stadium (Foro Italico) in Rome.


Every May, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is held in Rome. This 4-day event begins in Circus Maximus, where there are all kinds of things to participate in, leading up to the race.

The race itself is held on the morning of Sunday May 17 2020, and goes through the historic center of Rome. If you click the logo to left, it will take you to the site for the race in Rome. It's only in Italian but try to translate if you want to learn more about the events or to participate.

The Notte dei Musei, or Night at the Museums, is a fun initiative (at many cities throughout Europe, in fact) to allow visits to museums at night, for the symbolic entry price of only 1€.

COVID-19 UPDATE: the European Museum Night has been postponed to November 14, 2020.

Really Cool Nighttime Things to Do in Rome in May

Now that the evenings are pleasant, you can enjoy some cultural sites and exhibits at night:

colosseum night

As of June 2020, night visits to the Colosseum are temporarily suspended.

From April through January 6, 2021, you can visit the Colosseum at night

Entry for night visits to the Colosseum is NOT part of the Roma Pass.

NB - They don't usually open this on Coopculture until right before the event so if you don't see availability for when you want to go, check back.


Due to new hours, as of June 2020, the Vatican Museums are open Friday and Saturday until 10pm (Mon-Thu until 8pm).

The ticket is a regular ticket and must be booked in advance.

Click here to book your tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel on Friday night.

viaggio nei fori

I highly recommend this wonderful laser/hologram/light show in the Forum of Augustus, that brings the whole place to life. Combine it with the light show of Julius Caesar's Forum and you will really have a sense of Ancient Rome.

Various 40-minute shows from about 8pm. Get the combined ticket for both shows and save.

Advance booking is strongly suggested.

Temporarily suspended

Rome in Spring
A Romewise Photo Book

Travel to the Eternal City in spring from the comfort of your home with our beautifully designed photo book.

This book comes as a hardback, with a glossy cover finish, ensuring it will look stunning on your coffee table, desk or bookshelf.

Produced in, and dispatched from the United States, this book is available now for worldwide shipping*.


*This product is produced in, and dispatched from the United States. Please consider that delivery timeframes may fluctuate based on where you are in the world, particularly while COVID-related disruptions persist. Deliveries outside of the United States may be subject to custom or import fees, which Romewise bears no responsibility for - if you are unsure, please check with your national authorities before ordering.

Raffaello - Beyond the exhibition. March 5 - June 2, 2020.

Scuderie del Quirinale, Via XXIV Maggio 16.

Open: sun - Thu 10am - 8pm; Fri - Sat 10am – 10:30pm. 

Click the photo to visit the official site.

TBD at the Chiostro del Bramante

Open Mon - Fri 10am - 8pm; Sat - Sun 10am - 9pm.

xxx€ includes audioguide. No advance booking required.

TBD at the Complesso del Vittoriano

Mon - Thu 9:30am - 7:30pm
Fri - Sat 9:30am - 10pm
Sun 9:30 am - 8:30 pm

Tickets are xxx€. Advance booking highly recommended for this popular exhibit.

Special Music Concerts in May 2020

From spring, Rome's Casa del Jazz will have concerts throughout the season. 

Click here to visit TicketOne where you can see the schedule and buy tickets.

I've listed some of what I think are the most fascinating events in Rome in May, and most central. For a complete list of events in Rome in May, visit the website of the Rome Tourist Board.

More ideas for things to do in Rome in May

Maybe it's your 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) time in Rome. Or you have more than 3 days here. Or you just want to see and do lots of fun things.

Besides the obvious must-see tourist attractions, there are lots of great things to see and do in Rome in May. Here are some ideas for your visit:

pin rome in may

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