As the epicenter of the Italian Renaissance, Florence boasts remarkable architecture, iconic artwork, significant landmarks, and delectable cuisine. However, many potential visitors wonder if visiting Florence in May is the right time.
May marks the sweet spot for experiencing Florence at its finest, as the summer tourist surge hasn’t quite hit yet. With most schools not breaking until June or July, visitors can enjoy the delightful weather of long, sun-drenched days without the sweltering heat that often arrives in June and lasts until September.
If you’re planning a Florence getaway during May, keep reading to discover everything you can look forward to.
Florence in May – Weather and Temperature
Florence’s climate follows the pattern of southern Europe in terms of seasonal changes. Spring, from April to May, is considered the ideal season, offering comfortable, sunny days with occasional rain and cool nights.
In May, a typical day in Florence sees an average temperature ranging from 49°F to 69°F. It’s considered pleasantly cool with a mild breeze.
7 Things and Events to Do in Florence in May
1. Visit the Boboli Gardens
Boboli Gardens is a sprawling green haven, offering a perfect escape from the hustle-bustle of the city. Situated across the flowing Arno River from most of the major tourist spots in Florence, it’s worth noting that the manicured gardens require a nominal entrance fee. However, they also provide breathtaking views and fresh air that you can’t beat.
One of the major highlights of the Boboli Gardens is the view of Florence Duomo. Positioned higher than the city, the gardens offer a panoramic view of the burnt-orange rooftops below, with the iconic domed roof prominently at the center.
2. Stroll Along the Arno River
The Arno River is an iconic waterway that runs through Florence and is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Florence in May.
While walking tours offer an up-close experience of the Arno, Vespas, golf carts, and vintage car tours offer other unique ways to explore Florence’s offerings along the riverbanks.
Explore Florence in May
3. Walk in Piazzale Michelangelo
Behold the splendor of Florence from its finest vantage point, none other than the remarkable Piazzale Michelangelo. Here, you can gaze upon the majestic cityscape that lies on the other side of the Arno River, and bask in the stunning panoramic vista that it offers.
A trip to this awe-inspiring location is an absolute must for anyone who wishes to experience the true beauty of Florence, whether it be a weekend or an evening stroll from the city center.
4. Participate in the White Night
During the Notte Bianca, also known as the “white night,” which occurs annually just before May on April 30th, people revel outside their homes from sunset to sunrise the following day. The streets, alleyways, and squares of Florence pulse with life as night-long DJ sets, concerts, and film screenings take place.
You’ll also find many shops and museums that keep their doors open, adding to the vibrant atmosphere of a truly unforgettable night.
5. Spring Artisan Market
If you’re in the mood for a more relaxed shopping experience, venture to the San Lorenzo Street market during May, where you may be able to snag discounts on leather goods that would typically cost far more during the summer months. It’s one of the best spring artisan markets the city has to offer.
The market is a true treasure trove of some of the finest Tuscan goods. And while leather products are a particular highlight, visitors can also peruse a variety of goods, including clothing, scarves, ornaments, and souvenirs.
The market exudes a charming ambiance, and those who take the time to browse each stall could easily lose track of time and spend an hour or two exploring its offerings. Plus, on a sunny day, the market provides a much-needed respite from the blazing sun.
6. Rent a Bike and Visit the City
Exploring Florence on a bicycle can be a thrilling experience! In fact, many locals rely on bikes as their primary mode of transportation, so you won’t be alone in your adventure.
If you’re looking for a hassle-free bike rental option in Florence, look no further than RideMovi, one of the most user-friendly and flexible services available in the city. All you have to do is download the app, locate your desired bike, and you’re good to go! Even better, book the best bike tours below!
Florence Bike Tours
7. Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
From April to July, Florence comes alive with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, one of the city’s most highly regarded cultural festivals. Here, you’ll find a diverse program of ballets, concerts, operas, and theatrical performances.
The festival has quite a long history, as it was established in 1933. Over the years, it has become a celebrated event in the arts community, attracting top talent from around the world.
Learn more about Florence before your stay with the top 12 books about Florence!
The Best Hotel to Stay in Florence in May
Despite being a small city, Florence boasts an impressive range of accommodations to rest your head after a long day of sightseeing. Let’s take a look at a few of the best hotels to stay at if visiting Florence in May.
The Complete Luxury Package
The Westin Excelsior, Florence: Enjoy one of the 171 elegant rooms in this converted 12th-century mansion that sits alongside the banks of the Arno River. It’s modern and sophisticated and has a breathtaking restaurant on the sixth floor that offers 360-degree views of the surrounding city.
A Plush and Comfortable Stay
Solo Experience Hotel: If you’re looking for a charming and well-equipped hotel in Florence, the Solo Experience Hotel is an excellent option. It’s conveniently located near popular landmarks such as Campanile di Giotto and Cupola del Brunelleschi, and each room offers a flat-screen TV, plush beds, and chic decor.
Gorgeous Guest House
Oro Nero Florence – If you’re looking for a more rustic stay in the city, we recommend the Oro Nero Florence guest house. This luxury suite comes with everything you’d need to unwind after a long day in the city, including comfortable bedding, a fully-stocked private bathroom, and a small kitchen table.
What to Wear In Florence In May
When spring arrives in Florence, it’s time to switch out the boots for sneakers and sandals.
Don’t believe the rumors that say sneakers are a fashion faux pas in Italy. In fact, they are the perfect choice for exploring the city if you opt for a stylish pair instead of a sporty one.
Plus, they provide better traction on the cobbled streets!
We also recommend having a pair of sandals for sunnier days.
Packing for Women
Jeans are a must for your May packing list, especially during the earlier days of the month when it’s still slightly chilly. In addition to jeans, it’s also a good idea to pack a pair of chinos and a pair of lightweight trousers.
While short skirts and dresses aren’t ideal for visiting many of Florence’s tourist attractions, having a few mid-length options on hand for certain outings is smart. As for tops, florals are always a great choice for Italian cities in May, when flowers are in bloom.
Packing for Men
A good blazer is a great choice for any man’s spring packing list for Florence, serving as suitable attire for restaurants while also providing an extra layer for cooler days.
Chinos and lightweight jeans are also ideal, especially in the early part of the month.
When it comes to tops, opt for short-sleeved t-shirts in darker shades to avoid standing out as a tourist. For evenings out, a long-sleeved button-down shirt or a polo shirt will do.
Because there’s always a chance of rain in May, both men and women should make sure to bring a waterproof jacket!
More things to pack in Florence in May
Beyond your clothing, it’s important that you pack all the right gear and essentials for your trip to Florence in May so you can enjoy exploring the city without skipping a beat.
- Sunglasses – Don’t take a trip to Florence without some shades. Remember, May sees quite a bit of sun.
- Reusable Water Bottle – Having a reusable water bottle on your side is an eco-friendly way to keep you hydrated during your trip. Plus, unlike the states, there are plenty of public water fountains throughout Florence.
- Umbrella – As we said before, rain showers can be expected in May, and an umbrella can come in handy if you want to stay dry while exploring the city.
- Sunscreen – With plenty of sun, you’ll want to stay protected! Get yourself some high SPF sunscreen.
Recommended Day Trips from Florence in May
Set your sights on the charming medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano, located in the heart of Tuscany.
It’s one of the most picturesque towns in the region, known best for its famous towers, which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
While you’re there, make sure to visit the Piazza della Cisterna. This famous square is one of the most beautiful in Italy.
While Chianti might be known for its rolling hills covered in vineyards, offering some of Italy’s most famed wine, there’s so much more that Chianti has to offer as a day trip from Florence in May. While you’re there, make sure to head out to some of the region’s top attractions, including the Castello di Brolio, the Castello di Meleto, and the Abbey of Passignano. Among the main towns to visit, we mention Castellina, Radda, Greve, and Gaiole in Chianti.
Fiesole, nestled in the Tuscan hills above Florence, offers a unique day trip experience in just an hour.
Once you arrive in Fiesole, the breathtaking views of Florence are just the beginning. Don’t miss the chance to explore the ancient Roman ruins, including a well-preserved amphitheater, or visit the impressive Monastery of San Francesco. You can also discover the remains of Etruscan walls and admire the stunning architecture of Fiesole’s cathedral.
Located about 50 miles southeast of Florence in the Casentino region, Poppi is a delightful town perfect for a day trip from Florence. It’s easily accessible by car or by train, and once you arrive, you can explore its charming historic center, which includes the impressive Castle of the Guidi Counts, a medieval fortress that dates back to the 12th century.
If you’re looking for a hidden gem in Tuscany, consider adding Certaldo Alto to your list. You can easily access this medieval walled town by train or car from Florence.
Originally inhabited by the Etruscan civilization, Certaldo Alto is steeped in history and has beautifully preserved medieval architecture that exudes a serene and tranquil atmosphere. You won’t want to miss the breathtaking views from the top of the Casa Boccaccio Tower.
FAQs for Travelers Who Will Be Visiting Florence in May
Is May a Good Time to Visit Florence, Italy?
One of the most optimal travel periods in Florence is in May, boasting the perfect combination of favorable weather and bustling tourism activity.
How Hot is Florence in May?
The weather is comfortably warm in Florence in May, and you often get more than 15 hours of daylight to explore the city. Even so, you’ll get an average temperature ranging from 49°F to 69°F.
Is Florence Crowded in May?
You’ll find many crowds gathering in Florence from May through September, offering the perfect time to experience the vibrancy of the city as it is bustling with activity.
Is Florence a Walkable City?
Florence is a city best explored on foot, with its compact city center making it easy to navigate without the need for expensive transportation.
How Do I Not Look Like a Tourist In Florence?
Here are a few ways to avoid looking like a tourist in Florence:
- Dress nicely
- Don’t wear sporty sneakers
- Keep your knees and shoulders covered in church
- Don’t wait until Sunday to shop
- Carry ONLY your essentials