Florence in May - Your Essential Trip Planning Guide

Coming to Florence 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. 

enjoying rooftop aperitivoSpring is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit Florence.

May in Florence - at a glance

Here's what you need to know about coming to visit Florence in May:

May weather in Florence Italy

I always think of May 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 Florence 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 high teens C/mid 60's F during the day, and chilly in the evening.

san marco monasterySpring offers perfect sight-seeing weather, but in early May, you may need to dress a bit more warmly than you think. Monastery of San Marco.

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

During the day the average high temperature is in the mid 20's C/mid to high 70's F, and in the evenings, it's in the high teens C/mid 60's F.

For more ideas for how to make the most of your time in Florence, take a look at these pages:

What to pack for Florence in May

Packing tips for May in Florence

people on ponte vecchioIn May in Florence, you'll find people wearing a mix of clothing because the weather is not quite hot but no longer chilly.

The most important thing remember when packing for Florence in May is that it isn't quite as warm 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 fairly cool and we still get some spring rain showers now and again.

It's a great month to be exploring the city, as the consistently mild temperatures are ideal for being out and about all day!

Whether you're visiting Florence 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.

These are my personal recommendations for packing for Florence in May:

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  • With the warmer weather, a lot of people want to walk around Florence in shorts. While Italians won't dress this way, you can if you want to. But if you are visiting any church (that includes the Duomo and Santa Croce), or other Christian site, you cannot have bare knees. These hiking pants with removable legs 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 all the time about what to pack for Florence, but it's because in Florence, you can never go wrong carrying a scarf with you, especially in the spring months. Packing for a visit to Italy 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.
  • A maxi skirt is another good way to be cool and comfortable sight-seeing, but also appropriate for visiting churches.
  • T-shirts are the perfect thing to pack for Florence in May, since they are short-sleeved for warm weather, but still cover your shoulders.
  • A light cardigan is a must for travel to Florence in the spring, and is easily packed in your luggage but also your bag or backpack while you walk around the city.
  • A cotton pullover is another way to stay comfortable. You can be flexible with the changing temperatures during the day, as well as staying appropriately dressed for sightseeing in Florence.
  • 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 Florence this time of year, 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!

Don't forget to bring sunblock/sunscreen and sunglasses with you, especially if your visit is at the end of May!

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General Florence packing tips

What else do you need to consider when packing for Florence in May?

These are a few of my essential packing recommendations, any time of year:

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  • SunglassesYes it can be rainy in Florence occasionally, but the sun will be shining more often than not so you'll want a good pair of sunglasses.
  • Any medications you take, along with a list of these medications. I would recommend keeping these with you in your carry-on in a dedicated organizer, rather than packing them in your checked luggage.
  • Photocopies or clear photographs saved on your phone of your passport - much safer than carrying your actual passport around Florence!
  • 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 will 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, perfect for travel to different parts of the world.
  • Carrying a well-stocked first-aid kit gives you 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.

Finally, travel insurance isn't something to pack per se, but it is something you should not forget!

It is not uncommon these days for visitors to have to deal with lost luggage or cancelled or delayed flights, and your credit card coverage may not be as extensive as you think.

Chances are you are not covered for what you need when these things happen!

Being prepared for your trip isn't just about packing the right clothes and accessories, it's also about planning ahead.

There's so much to do in Florence that it can be overwhelming sometimes to decide what to include in your itinerary, so why not leave it to the experts?

Take a look at some of the top Florence tours available for a deeper insight into one of the world's most popular cities!

What to wear in Florence in May

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

You will probably be walking a lot, so you need comfortable shoes.

Rule 1: Be Comfortable!

My number one rule for sightseeing in Florence, at any time of year: 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.

piazza del duomoHere at Piazza del Duomo, you can see people on a warm day in late spring. What they all have in common is comfortable clothing and shoes!

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 May is much milder than the previous months in Florence, 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 Florence's streets are killer on your feet if you don't have sturdy enough shoes. 

I would recommend bringing some sturdy walking sandals or good cotton tennis shoes that give your feet enough support while also being breathable.

Rule 2: Dress in Layers

people on ponte vecchioDressing in layers is key for enjoying Florence in May, especially as temps might drop a bit in the evenings.

While the May weather in Florence is generally mild, 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 travel around Florence, 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, when packing for Florence in May, don't forget to:

  • 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!

If you are planning to go to an event, for example a wedding, opera or dinner at a special restaurant, then you may wish to bring something elegant to wear.

Otherwise, it is fine to wear more casual clothes to eat out at many restaurants in Florence so you do not need to pack much, if any, evening-wear.

Is May a good time to visit Florence?

Florence in May is absolutely beautiful, the days are sunny and long and there is not much rain.

So if you want to visit Florence during May, it is the perfect time for relaxing in the city.

Just know that you will find the streets, piazzas, restaurants and sites packed.

How crowded is Florence during May?

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

accademia galleryThe Galleria dell'Accademia where you can see Michelangelo's David is a must any time, and in spring, you can expect to find it as crowded as it gets.

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

santa maria novellaFlorence is beautiful in May, with flowers blooming everywhere, like here in front of Santa Maria Novella. Is it any wonder people want to visit in spring?

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

The city starts getting ready for the summer, with night visits and special events starting up. 

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

Florence Seasonal Food in May

Artichokes are still in season in May 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, perfect for spring picnics!

The short asparagus season starts in May so make the most of these if you see them on menus, and the earliest summer tomatoes also start appearing on market stalls.

One thing you should definitely try are the wild strawberries that are on offer for just a couple of months in the spring.

Many restaurants add these strawberries to their dessert menu in May, served with a touch of lemon and rich vanilla cream - absolutely perfect!

Discover the best of Florentine cuisine on a Florence food tour, led by a local expert who will show you what to eat and what's in season!

What to do during May in Florence

May holidays and special dates in Florence

The main holiday to know about in Florence is May 1, or May Day.

But there are also some new openings and other special and interesting things to see and do in Florence, read on to find out more:

may 1 - 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 Italians enjoy it more than anything as a day for a picnic or big outdoor lunch.

mother's day

Every year on the second Sunday in May, Italy celebrates all mothers, so if you're in Florence on this date with your mom, be sure to treat her!

may 23 - fiorita commemoration

Florence in the 15th century was a tumultuous place.

The powerful Medici family had been ruling the city for decades, accumulating wealth and influence which was put on display in extravagant palaces.

The Medici family was becoming more and more unpopular, with their incredible wealth at odds with the life of most Florentine people.

At the end of the 15th century the Medicis were deposed and a popular 'revolution' began led by a Dominican friar, Girolamo Savonarola.

Savonarola believed in living a simple life, without luxury or excess, the opposite of the Medici lifestyle and travelled around the city preaching his message.

He whipped up the Florentine people into a frenzy, culminating in the Bonfire of the Vanities in 1497.

A huge number of pieces of art, furniture, clothing and other high-value items were burned in Piazza della Signoria, looted or forcibly taken from noble palaces as a reaction against the excess of the Medici.

neptune fountain on piazza della signoria vertical viewLook for the plaque dedicated to Savonarola in front of the Neptune Fountain, close to Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery

For a short time Savonarola was the de facto leader of Florence, but by 1498 he had been convicted of heresy by Pope Alexander VI and was burned at the stake in the same spot as the huge bonfire, Piazza della Signoria.

Today there is a round plaque, just in front of the fountain of Neptune, marking the spot where Savonarola was burned to death.

Every year, on May 23, the anniversary of the famous event, flowers are laid on this plaque to remember him. 

A Mass is also celebrated in the Palazzo Vecchio priory chapel, and there is a historic procession to the Ponte Vecchio where flower petals are thrown into the Arno river.

Current exhibits and events at Florence's museums in May

The spring months are a great time to take in the arts indoors. Some museums stay open later on the weekends.

Here are some of the events taking place in Florence in May 2024:

anselm kiefer exhibition

Palazzo Strozzi

"Fallen Angels" by Anselm Kiefer

This exhibition displays many of Anselm Kiefer's works, which through painting, sculpture and installations investigate the themes of memory, myth, war and existence.

March 22 2024 to July 21 2024

For opening hours and ticket information, click here.

L’incanto di Orfeo exhibit

Medici Riccardi Palace

L'incanto di Orfeo 

Explore "The Enchantment of Orpheus", the major exhibition curated by Sergio Risaliti and Valentina Zucchi.

March 20 2024 to September 8 2024

For opening hours and ticket information, click here.


Uffizi Galleries

Divina Simulacra

The Uffizi's most beautiful ancient statues are exhibited in the ground-floor rooms of the Vasari Museum: in these spacious rooms visitors can see and admire them up close, in all their beauty

Through June 30, 2024

For opening hours and ticket information, click here.

Gucci Vision

Gucci Visions - Gucci Garden

The immersive exhibition playfully portraying a legacy of creativity at Gucci.

Through May 30, 2024.

For opening hours and ticket information, click here.

Florence Concerts, Operas and other shows on in May 2024

There are lots of concerts and other events available to book for your trip to Florence in May - take a look at some of our suggestions here:

Concerts on May 1

Concerts by The Florence Chamber Orchestra in Santo Stefano al Ponte

Classic Italian Opera in Santa Monaca Church

Concerts in May

Quartetto Ellerovos: Strings at Auditorium Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze - May 18

Vivaldi's Four Seasons at Museo Zeffirelli - May 26

Concerts at Florence's Famed Teatro Verdi

Concerts at the Auditorium of Santo Stefano at Ponte Vecchio


Enjoy operatic pieces from famous Italian composers live in concert in the evocative surroundings of the Santa Monaca church.

Concerts take place every evening, booking highly recommended.


See the Three Tenors live in concert at the Santo Stefano al Ponte church.

You will be treated some of the best-known arias from the operas of Puccini, Verdi and Rossini, as well as Neapolitan songs.

Takes place twice a week - why not book your tickets to include a special 3-course Tuscan meal for an extra special evening!


Enjoy a variety of concerts and events in Florence's oldest theater, Teatro Niccolini.

Free Things to do in Florence in May

On the first Sunday of each month you can access Florence's state-run museums, archeological parks and cultural sites for free - yes, completely free!

This includes the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, Boboli Gardens, Accademia Gallery and many more.

Painting madonna of the rose garden by Botticelli in Uffizzi GalleryBotticelli's painting of the Madonna in the Rose Garden is just one of the amazing sights on offer for free

These are very popular events at Florence attractions so plan to arrive early to be sure you get in!

More ideas for things to do in Florence in May

Maybe it's your 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) time in Florence. 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 Florence!

While you can of course look at a day trip to the Tuscan countryside, Rome or even Venice, here are some ideas for your visit:

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