Rome in May - Essential Trip Planning Guide

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:

Check out my video about visiting Rome in May!

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.

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What to Pack for Rome in May

We can have some beautiful sunny days in Rome in May, but while summer is around the corner, 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 beginning of the month, and also 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!

Visit my dedicated pages about what to pack for Rome for every spring month:

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.

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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.

The weather is not too hot and it's just perfect for sight-seeing and enjoying eating and drinking outside.

Many night visits are available from April or May, like Friday and Saturday nights at the Vatican Museums, and Colosseum by night.

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!

What's Happening in Rome in May

There are some things that happen every May in Rome.

Here are some dates to watch for:

  • May 1/May Day - There is only one major holiday in May and that's May 1, or May Day. Many things are closed this day, but plenty is still open.
  • Early May - Azaleas on the Spanish Steps
  • Entire month of May - the Roseto Rose Garden is open
  • BNL Tennis championships: May 14-17, 2024
  • Komen Race for the Cure: May 9-12, 2024

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:

For more details about what's happening in May, visit my page all about Rome events in May and a full list of the best concerts this month.

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

Rome in May - things to do

May in Rome means great sight-seeing weather. The days are just warm enough without being overly hot, and they're long as well, which means enjoying more of Rome outdoors.

So one of the best things you can do in Rome in May is enjoy the city and sites on foot.

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Free Things to do in Rome in May

On the Free Sunday you can visit Rome's museums for free.

State-run sites like the Colosseum and Castel Sant'Angelo, as well as civic museums such as the Capitoline museums are all free on the first Sunday of the month.

The Vatican Museums are free on the last Sunday of the month, for limited hours.

Visit my page about May events in Rome for more details.

More ideas for things to do 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:

Disclosure : If you make a purchase through a link on this page, I may receive a small commission - at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my site!

cooking class

Take a cooking class

There are so many great options for taking cooking classes in Rome! From pizza-making to learning to make fresh pasta, to going shopping with the chef and making a home-cooked meal at his/her house!

bike tour

Take a bicycle tour

You can go out onto the Appia Antica, a lovely area to tour by bike. 

You can also try one of Rome's newest tours, by electric bike!

What a great way to see the sites, get some exercise but not get too over-exerted!

vespa in rome

Take a vespa tour

This is all the rage now.

Zipping around Rome either on the back of a vespa or driving one on your own can be a fun and fascinating way to see the Eternal city.

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.

rome in spring photo book open 1
rome in spring photo book open 1
rome in spring photo book hard cover

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

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*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.

Museums to visit in Rome in May

sistine chapel

Of course there are the Vatican Museums, where you will see the Sistine Chapel.

bernini - david

Visit the Galleria Borghese, with its amazing Bernini sculptures and Caravaggio paintings.

Make sure to book ahead!

capitoline she wolf

One of my favorite museums in Rome is the Capitoline Museums. These museums comprise some of the most extensive and comprehensive displays of painting, sculpture, artefacts and architecture in the world.

Open daily from 9:30am - 7:30pm. 15€.

Book in advance if you can. It's not always possible to just turn up without booking.

vatican necropolis

This is the time of year I'd visit St. Peter's tomb under the Vatican.


Because I went in August one year thinking it would be "cool", and instead I was roasting. They seal you into every room you go into, so it's quite hot.

So in cooler weather, this is not only a great thing to see, but a great way to be warm in an awesome place!

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.

pin rome in may

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