Going strictly by the calendar, May is part of the spring season and would under normal circumstances be considered a month that shoulders the cool weather of April with the warmth of summer. Italy however is quite adept at dismissing normal circumstances!
Weather-wise, it is easy to see why May is thought of as the beginning of the summer season. Early May tends to be mild, sunny and generally glorious. The waters off Italy’s coasts are usually warm enough to warrant digging the swimsuit out of the suitcase. But in the northern part of the country, the mountains usually keep things a bit cooler overall. Rainfall is less of an issue during May, but there is a greater chance of rain in the north than in central or south of Italy. Also take note that even if the days are warm, the nights may be quite cool. Temperatures vary depending on where you are, but as a general rule of thumb, the thermometer in northern Italy will range from 50-70°F, in central Italy from 55-70°F and in southern Italy from 60-75°F.
Gardens are blooming all over Italy in May and there are special local festivals to honor that. One such event in Florence is within Giardino dell’Iris, an iris garden near Piazzale Michelangelo. The garden is open to the public for just a few weeks of the year in May and features over 1,500 of varieties of irises.
May is certainly fantastic when it comes to the weather in Italy and because the summer months remain the most popular for foreign travelers to the country, crowds aren’t as evident as they are in June. For those who don’t want to risk the rain in April – May can be the perfect month to be in Italy.